How to Select an Interior Designer Degree Program near Tombstone Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Tombstone AZ, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Tombstone AZ if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Tombstone AZ often 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 instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, Tombstone AZ designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design in Tombstone AZ that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose 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 benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Tombstone AZ.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Tombstone AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student 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 the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing’ to study in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no Tombstone 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire 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 Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your Tombstone AZ area college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Tombstone AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those states requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Tombstone AZ program you choose should also provide the suitable education 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Tombstone AZ area business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of Tombstone AZ area interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Tombstone AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the Tombstone AZ interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Ideal Interior Design Certification Training near Tombstone ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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