Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Best One Near Auburn Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of selecting an interior design school near Auburn AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, 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 prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's very important you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are many other qualifications that you should evaluate when comparing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Auburn AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed 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 supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally 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 professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Auburn AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Auburn AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Auburn AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Auburn AL school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Auburn AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Auburn AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Auburn AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Auburn home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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? Last, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Auburn Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still essential that you carry out 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 schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.