How to Pick the Right Interior Design College near Flowing Wells Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Flowing Wells AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level 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, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Flowing Wells AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Flowing Wells AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Flowing Wells AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Flowing Wells AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed 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 many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Flowing Wells AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Flowing Wells AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Flowing Wells AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination 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? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Flowing Wells AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Flowing Wells AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Flowing Wells AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Flowing Wells home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flowing Wells AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Best Flowing Wells Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flowing Wells Arizona.