How to Choose the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Fort Mohave Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Fort Mohave AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fort Mohave AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as 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 wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Fort Mohave AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Fort Mohave AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate 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 a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Fort Mohave AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Fort Mohave AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fort Mohave AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Fort Mohave 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Fort Mohave AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Fort Mohave AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fort Mohave AZ programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fort Mohave home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fort Mohave AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Fort Mohave Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative 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 properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Mohave Arizona.