How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course near Holbrook Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Holbrook AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Holbrook AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might 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, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Holbrook AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Holbrook AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief 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 complete and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
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 schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic 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 many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish 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 driving distance from your Holbrook AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Holbrook AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Holbrook AZ program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support 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 highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Holbrook AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Holbrook AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Holbrook AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Holbrook home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few 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, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic 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 Holbrook AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Best Holbrook Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. 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 programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Holbrook Arizona.