Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Right One Near Auburn Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Auburn AL once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's vital you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just how do you approach finding the right school? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important 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 training options are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Auburn AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Auburn AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Auburn AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Auburn AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools 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 traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Auburn AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Auburn AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Auburn AL college you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Auburn AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Auburn AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Auburn AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Auburn home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Auburn Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.