How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course near Green Valley Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Green Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to 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 researching 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone 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, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Green Valley AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Green Valley AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Green Valley AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated 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 opt to enroll in, make certain to select 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions 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 profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required 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 training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire 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.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take 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 schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper 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 colleges may also receive 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 ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Green Valley AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College 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 industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Green Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Green Valley AZ college you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Green Valley AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Green Valley AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Green Valley AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Green Valley home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Green Valley Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Green Valley Arizona.