How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Cave Creek Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Cave Creek AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive 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 could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Cave Creek AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, 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 integrating Feng shui principles, Cave Creek AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Cave Creek AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as 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 pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required 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 two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Cave Creek AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Cave Creek AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school 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 Cave Creek AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Cave Creek AZ college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Cave Creek AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Cave Creek AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Cave Creek AZ schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cave Creek home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Cave Creek AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Best Cave Creek Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cave Creek Arizona.