How to Find an Interior Design Program near Willcox Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Willcox AZ, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Willcox AZ if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Willcox AZ frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, Willcox AZ designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design in Willcox AZ that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Willcox AZ.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Willcox AZ area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly 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 require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no Willcox AZ area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 college may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your Willcox AZ area college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Willcox AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do require that interior designers get 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 also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Willcox AZ school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Willcox AZ area business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of Willcox AZ area interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Willcox AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the Willcox AZ interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Willcox ArizonaSelecting the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to recieve a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Arizona