How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Laveen Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Laveen AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Laveen AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, 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 might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Laveen AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Laveen AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for 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 deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed 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 two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Laveen AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic 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 some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After 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 needs to be within commuting distance from your Laveen AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Laveen AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Laveen AZ school you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements 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 want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Laveen AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Laveen AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Laveen AZ colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Laveen home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Laveen AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Laveen Interior Design Program
Choosing 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 receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Laveen Arizona.