How to Find the Right Interior Designer College near Douglas Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Douglas AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Douglas AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Douglas AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Douglas 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 choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations 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 field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of 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 individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Douglas AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose 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 distance or online 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 perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen 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 factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Douglas AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Douglas AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Douglas AZ program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements 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 position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Douglas AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Douglas AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Douglas AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Douglas home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Douglas AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Douglas Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things 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 regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining 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 drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Douglas Arizona.