How to Select an Interior Design College near Sedona Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Sedona AZ, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Sedona AZ if they have 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 a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Sedona AZ typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, Sedona AZ designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design in Sedona AZ that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Sedona AZ.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Sedona AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no Sedona AZ area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your Sedona AZ area school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Sedona AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those states mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Sedona AZ program you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’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 job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Sedona AZ area business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of Sedona AZ area interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Sedona AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the Sedona AZ interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly 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 working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Sedona ArizonaSelecting the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to recieve a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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