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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Holbrook Arizona

Holbrook Arizona interior designed living roomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Holbrook AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Holbrook AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Holbrook AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Holbrook AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure 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 provide alternatives in specialized 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Holbrook AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Holbrook AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Holbrook AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Holbrook AZ college you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at 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 school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Holbrook AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Holbrook AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Holbrook AZ programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Holbrook home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Holbrook AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Courses

Choose in the Right Holbrook Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Holbrook Arizona.