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How to Select the Right Interior Design College near Bisbee Arizona

Bisbee Arizona interior designed living roomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Bisbee AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues 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 class options are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Bisbee AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Bisbee AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degrees

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Bisbee AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • 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 offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 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 professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Bisbee AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution 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 many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized 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 education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Bisbee AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bisbee AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Bisbee AZ college you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. 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 higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Bisbee AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Bisbee AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bisbee AZ schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bisbee home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night 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, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Bisbee Interior Design Programs

Choose in the Right Bisbee Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bisbee Arizona.