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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Auburn AL

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Auburn AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Auburn AL

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Auburn AL can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Auburn Alabama interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Auburn AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Auburn Alabama interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Auburn AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Auburn Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Auburn AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Auburn AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Auburn AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Auburn AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Auburn home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Auburn Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Auburn AlabamaSelecting the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of 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 regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.