How to Pick an Interior Design School near Littlefield Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Littlefield AZ, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Littlefield AZ if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Littlefield AZ typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, Littlefield AZ designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 residential and commercial interior design in Littlefield AZ that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Littlefield AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Littlefield AZ area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no Littlefield AZ area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in 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 education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your Littlefield AZ area school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Littlefield AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those states calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Littlefield AZ program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Littlefield AZ area business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of Littlefield AZ area interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Littlefield AZ schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the Littlefield AZ interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Littlefield ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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