How to Select an Interior Designer College near Catalina Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Catalina AZ, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Catalina AZ if they have a general knowledge of or a talent 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Catalina AZ typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, Catalina AZ designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Catalina AZ that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Catalina AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Catalina AZ area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such 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. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no Catalina AZ area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your Catalina AZ area school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Catalina AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those states calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Catalina AZ school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Catalina AZ area business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of Catalina AZ area interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the Catalina AZ interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Ideal Interior Design College near Catalina ArizonaChoosing the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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