How to Find the Best Interior Design School 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 begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Avra Valley AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example 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 selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Avra Valley AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Avra Valley AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of 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 aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate 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 options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Avra Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Avra Valley AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Avra Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Avra Valley AZ program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Avra Valley AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Avra Valley AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Avra Valley AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Avra Valley home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Avra Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Avra Valley Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avra Valley Arizona.