How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Arizona City Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Arizona City AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Arizona City AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed 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 that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Arizona City AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Arizona City AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Arizona City AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses 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 highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. 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.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Arizona City AZ home. 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 decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Arizona City AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Arizona City AZ program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing 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 probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Arizona City AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Arizona City AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Arizona City AZ schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Arizona City home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Arizona City AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Arizona City Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arizona City Arizona.