How to Pick the Best Interior Design Program near Green Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Green Valley 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 interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Green Valley AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Green Valley AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Green Valley AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance 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 college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Green Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative 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 costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Green Valley AZ residence. Obviously 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 limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Green Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools 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 require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Green Valley AZ school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Green Valley AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Green Valley AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Green Valley AZ programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Green Valley home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Green Valley Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Green Valley Arizona.