How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Chino Valley Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Chino Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Many future 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 relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Chino Valley AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Chino Valley AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Chino Valley AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components 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 furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Chino Valley AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 discipline to earn 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 Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Chino Valley AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Chino Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Chino Valley AZ college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Chino Valley AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Chino Valley AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chino Valley AZ colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chino Valley home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chino Valley AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Chino Valley Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chino Valley Arizona.