How to Select the Best Interior Designer College near Chinle Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Chinle AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Chinle AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Chinle AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Chinle AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required 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 provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things 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. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several 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 study in the convenience of their Chinle AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Chinle AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Chinle AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Chinle AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Chinle AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Chinle AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chinle AZ programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chinle home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chinle AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Chinle Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chinle Arizona.