How to Select the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Nogales Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Nogales AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 class options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories 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 room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Nogales AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Nogales AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level 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 usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed 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 provide advanced training in design after acquiring a 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary 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 colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Nogales AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools 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 commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Nogales AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Nogales AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Nogales AZ school you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Nogales AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Nogales AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Nogales AZ schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Nogales home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school 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 offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Nogales Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Nogales Arizona.