How to Select an Interior Design Degree Program near Auburn University Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Auburn University AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s very important that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Auburn University AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Auburn University AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Auburn University AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Auburn University AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of 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. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Auburn University AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college 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, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 undergone a demanding assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Auburn University AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Auburn University AL program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Auburn University AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Auburn University AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Auburn University AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Auburn University home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Auburn University AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Auburn University AL?
Auburn University (AU or Auburn) is a land-grant and public research university in Auburn, Alabama, United States. With more than 23,000 undergraduate students and a total enrollment of more than 30,000 with 1,260 faculty members, Auburn is the second largest university in Alabama. Auburn University is one of the state's two public flagship universities.
Auburn was chartered on February 1, 1856, as East Alabama Male College, a private liberal arts school affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1872, under the Morrill Act, it became the state's first public land-grant university and was renamed as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. In 1892, it became the first four-year coeducational school in Alabama, and in 1899 was renamed Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) to reflect its changing mission. In 1960, its name was changed to Auburn University to acknowledge the varied academic programs and larger curriculum of a major university.
The Alabama Legislature chartered the institution as the East Alabama Male College on February 1, 1856, coming under the guidance of the Methodist Church in 1859. Its first president was Reverend William J. Sasnett, and the school opened its doors in 1859 to a student body of eighty and a faculty of ten.
Find the Right Interior Design School near Auburn University AL
Picking the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic 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 challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn University AL.
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