How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Program near Golden Valley Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Golden Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some 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 important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Golden Valley AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Golden Valley AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Golden Valley AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Golden Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Golden Valley AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 gone through 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Golden Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Golden Valley AZ college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance 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 held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Golden Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Golden Valley AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Golden Valley AZ schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Golden Valley home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Golden Valley AZ, verify 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 procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Golden Valley Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete 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 programs 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 Golden Valley Arizona.