How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Camp Verde Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Camp Verde AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 choices are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Camp Verde AZ may 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Camp Verde AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Camp Verde AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Camp Verde AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Camp Verde AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Camp Verde AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Camp Verde AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer 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 so, ask 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 profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Camp Verde AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Camp Verde AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Camp Verde AZ schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Camp Verde home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Camp Verde AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Best Camp Verde Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review 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 reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Camp Verde Arizona.