How to Pick the Best Interior Designer College near Fort Mohave Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Fort Mohave AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Fort Mohave AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Fort Mohave AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Fort Mohave AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose 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) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Fort Mohave AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Fort Mohave AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fort Mohave AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Fort Mohave AZ school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Fort Mohave AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Fort Mohave AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fort Mohave AZ colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fort Mohave home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Mohave AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fort Mohave Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative 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 review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Mohave Arizona.