How to Pick the Right Interior Design School near Avra Valley Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Avra Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Avra Valley AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. 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 particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to 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 various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Avra Valley AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Avra Valley AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Avra Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Avra Valley AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below 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 appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Avra Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Avra Valley AZ program you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Avra Valley AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Avra Valley AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing 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 program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Avra Valley AZ programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Avra Valley home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Avra Valley AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Avra Valley Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avra Valley Arizona.