How to Pick an Interior Designer Course near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Flagstaff AZ, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Flagstaff AZ if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business 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 work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Flagstaff AZ often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, Flagstaff AZ designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Flagstaff AZ that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must 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 principles, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available near Flagstaff AZ.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Flagstaff AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required 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 furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working 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 schools may be the only option if no Flagstaff AZ area interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your Flagstaff AZ area school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Flagstaff AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Flagstaff AZ school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Flagstaff AZ area business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of Flagstaff AZ area interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Flagstaff AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the Flagstaff AZ interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Interior Design Degree Program near Flagstaff ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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