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How to Select the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Big Park Arizona

Big Park Arizona interior designed living roomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Big Park AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone 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, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Big Park AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily 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 banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Big Park AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Big Park AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Big Park AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Big Park AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Big Park AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Big Park AZ school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once 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 considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Big Park AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Big Park AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Big Park AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Big Park home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Big Park AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Big Park Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Right Big Park Interior Design School

Choosing the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Big Park Arizona.