How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Douglas Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Douglas AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial 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 just where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level 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, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Douglas AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Douglas AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Douglas AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty 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. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Douglas AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Douglas AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Douglas AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Douglas AZ college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Douglas AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Douglas AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Douglas AZ programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Douglas home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Douglas AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Best Douglas Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Douglas Arizona.