How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Douglas Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Douglas AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Douglas AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Douglas AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Douglas AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Douglas AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good 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 home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Douglas AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Douglas AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Douglas AZ college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Douglas AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Douglas AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Douglas AZ programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Douglas home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Douglas AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Douglas Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools 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 Douglas Arizona.