How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Arizona City Arizona
Once 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 picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Arizona City AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Arizona City AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Arizona City AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed 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 level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want 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", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs 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 anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Arizona City AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college 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 learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Arizona City AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Arizona City AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Arizona City AZ school you enroll in should also provide the suitable training 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? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Arizona City AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Arizona City AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Arizona City AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Arizona City home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend 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, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Arizona City Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arizona City Arizona.