How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Doney Park Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Doney Park AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Doney Park AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have 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, Doney Park AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Doney Park AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Doney Park AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. 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 challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Doney Park AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Doney Park AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Doney Park AZ program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Doney Park AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Doney Park AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Doney Park AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Doney Park home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Doney Park AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Doney Park Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Doney Park Arizona.