How to Select the Best Interior Designer College near Catalina Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Catalina AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training 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 school that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Catalina AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Catalina AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Catalina AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required 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. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Catalina AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution 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 convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Catalina AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify 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 field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Catalina AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Catalina AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Catalina AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Catalina AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Catalina home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Catalina AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Catalina Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Arizona.