How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program near Avra Valley Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Avra Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 class options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate 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 new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to 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 principles, Avra Valley AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Avra Valley AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Avra Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Avra Valley AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Avra Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Avra Valley AZ school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Avra Valley AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Avra Valley AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Avra Valley AZ schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Avra Valley home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Avra Valley AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Right Avra Valley Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avra Valley Arizona.