How to Find an Interior Designer Degree Program near Ridgway Colorado
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Ridgway CO, 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 receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. 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 class choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. 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 occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Ridgway CO may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have 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, Ridgway CO interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Ridgway CO. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as 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 some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Colorado vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Ridgway CO homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed 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 some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Ridgway CO residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Ridgway CO employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Ridgway CO college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Colorado or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Ridgway CO business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Ridgway CO schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ridgway CO colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Ridgway home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ridgway CO, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Ridgway CO?
The Town of Ridgway, coined Gateway to the San Juans, is a Home Rule Municipality in Ouray County, in the southwestern portion of the U.S. State of Colorado. The town is a former railroad stop on the Uncompaghre River in the northern San Juan Mountains. The town population was 713 at the 2000 census and 924 according to the 2010 census.
Steep forested mountains and cliffs surround Ridgway on the south, east, and northeast. The Uncompahgre River runs through the town and flows into the Ridgway State Park and Reservoir, to the north. Dallas Creek also flows from the south-west and forms a confluence with the Uncompahgre before entering the reservoir. There is a notable wildlife presence — mountain lions, badgers, deer, elk, bears, coyotes, wild turkey, and bald eagles are indigenous to the area. The regions bald eagles nest in the cottonwoods along the river and are a common sight in the late fall.
Ridgway and the surrounding area have featured predominantly in pop culture. Most notably the area is the setting of John Wayne's western movie True Grit, and others including How the West Was Won and Tribute to a Bad Man. Ridgway has the only stoplight in Ouray County, at the intersection of Highways 550 and 62.
Choose the Right Interior Design School near Ridgway CO
Picking the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ridgway CO.
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