How to Choose the Best Interior Design College near Page Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Page AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking 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 training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Page AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces 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 several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Page AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Page AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Page AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Page AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, 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 appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Page AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Page AZ program you enroll in should also provide the proper 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 attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Page AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Page AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Page AZ programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Page home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Page AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Page Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Page Arizona.