How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Holbrook Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Holbrook 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 interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, 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 living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Holbrook AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Holbrook AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Holbrook AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available 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 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Holbrook AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program 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 acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Holbrook AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Holbrook AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Holbrook AZ program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Holbrook AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Holbrook AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large 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 Holbrook AZ schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Holbrook home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Holbrook AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Holbrook Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Holbrook Arizona.