How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School near Doney Park Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Doney Park AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital 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 available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Doney Park AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Doney Park AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Doney Park AZ. Your choice 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, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Doney Park AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Doney Park AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Doney Park AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Doney Park AZ program you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Doney Park AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Doney Park AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Doney Park AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Doney Park home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Doney Park AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Doney Park Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Doney Park Arizona.