How to Pick an Interior Designer School near Cottonwood Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Cottonwood 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 interiors, it’s important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s vital that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly 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 location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Cottonwood AZ if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Cottonwood AZ typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, Cottonwood AZ designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Cottonwood AZ that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain 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 some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Cottonwood AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Cottonwood AZ area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance 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 programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to study in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent 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 a number of students online programs may be the only option if no Cottonwood AZ area interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn 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 confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your Cottonwood AZ area school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Cottonwood AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those states mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Cottonwood AZ program you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Cottonwood AZ area business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of Cottonwood AZ area interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Cottonwood AZ colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Cottonwood AZ interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Best Interior Design College near Cottonwood ArizonaSelecting the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a course, program 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 important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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