How to Choose the Best Interior Design College near Bisbee Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Bisbee AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Bisbee AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Bisbee AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Bisbee AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Bisbee AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper 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 program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Bisbee AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Bisbee AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Bisbee AZ college you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Bisbee AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bisbee AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bisbee AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bisbee home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bisbee AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Bisbee Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors 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 profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance 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 appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bisbee Arizona.