Interior Designer Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Auburn Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near Auburn AL once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's very important you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right school? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are several other qualifications that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for instance accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Auburn AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter 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 mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally 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 colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Auburn AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Auburn AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Auburn AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Auburn AL school you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Auburn AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Auburn AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Auburn AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Auburn home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Auburn Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.