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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Auburn AL

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Auburn AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Auburn AL

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Auburn AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Auburn Alabama interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Auburn AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Auburn Alabama interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Auburn AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Auburn Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Auburn AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Auburn AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Auburn AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Auburn AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Auburn home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Auburn Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Auburn AlabamaPicking the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.