Interior Designer School
How to Find the Right One Near Auburn Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Auburn AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision it's vital that you do the proper research. But just how do you approach finding the right school? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other vital 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 class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Auburn AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Auburn AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Auburn AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed 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 supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Auburn AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Auburn AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Auburn AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Auburn AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Auburn AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Auburn AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Auburn AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Auburn home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Auburn Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.