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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Auburn AL

How to Find the Right Interior Designer School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Auburn AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper 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? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Auburn AL

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Auburn AL can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Auburn Alabama interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Auburn AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community 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 extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Auburn AL student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Auburn AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Auburn Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Auburn AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Auburn AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Auburn AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Auburn AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Auburn home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches 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 active schedule. This is especially 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 offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Auburn Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Auburn AlabamaSelecting the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.