How to Pick the Best Interior Design School near Nogales Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Nogales AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program 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 colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Nogales AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Nogales AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Nogales AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Nogales AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option 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 convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Nogales AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Nogales AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Nogales AZ college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Nogales AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Nogales AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Nogales AZ colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Nogales home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Nogales AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Nogales Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Nogales Arizona.