How to Choose the Best Interior Design College near Lake Montezuma Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Lake Montezuma AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive 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 training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main 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 talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Lake Montezuma AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Lake Montezuma AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Lake Montezuma AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Lake Montezuma AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Lake Montezuma AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national 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 gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Lake Montezuma AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Lake Montezuma AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training 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 assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Lake Montezuma AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Lake Montezuma AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lake Montezuma AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Lake Montezuma home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lake Montezuma AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Lake Montezuma Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded 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 properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Montezuma Arizona.