How to Find the Right Interior Designer College near Golden Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Golden Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing 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 skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Golden Valley AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Golden Valley AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Golden Valley AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly 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 opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Golden Valley AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Golden Valley AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Golden Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Golden Valley AZ program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Golden Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Golden Valley AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction 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, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Golden Valley AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Golden Valley Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Golden Valley Arizona.