How to Pick the Best Interior Design College near Fort Mohave Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Fort Mohave 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 essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Fort Mohave AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Fort Mohave AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Fort Mohave AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed 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 Fort Mohave AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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 right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Fort Mohave AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fort Mohave AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep 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, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Fort Mohave AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Fort Mohave AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Fort Mohave AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fort Mohave AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Mohave home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Mohave AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Fort Mohave Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. 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 complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Mohave Arizona.