How to Choose an Interior Designer Program near Fredonia Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Fredonia AZ, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Fredonia AZ if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Fredonia AZ frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, Fredonia AZ designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design in Fredonia AZ that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new career. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Fredonia AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Fredonia AZ area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options 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. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing’ to study in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no Fredonia AZ area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced 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 colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your Fredonia AZ area college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fredonia AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those states requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Fredonia AZ school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Fredonia AZ area business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. Many of Fredonia AZ area interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fredonia AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 sure that the Fredonia AZ interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Ideal Interior Design College near Fredonia ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points 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 esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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