How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Nogales Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Nogales AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover 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 training choices are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount 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 spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Nogales AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example 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 selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Nogales AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Nogales AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several 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. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly 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 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use 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 professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Nogales AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Nogales AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, 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 Nogales AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Nogales AZ school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Nogales AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Nogales AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Nogales AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Nogales home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Nogales AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Right Nogales Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Nogales Arizona.