How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Holbrook Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Holbrook AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Holbrook AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Holbrook AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Holbrook AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually 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 deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally 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 required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Holbrook AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some 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 cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Holbrook 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 qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance 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 colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Holbrook AZ college you select should also provide the appropriate education 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement 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 might also signify that the college has a large network of Holbrook AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Holbrook AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Holbrook AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Holbrook home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Holbrook AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Holbrook Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Holbrook Arizona.