How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course near Litchfield Park Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Litchfield Park AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 training choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Litchfield Park AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Litchfield Park AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Litchfield Park AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take 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 explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Litchfield Park AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Litchfield Park AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Litchfield Park AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Litchfield Park AZ program you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Litchfield Park AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Litchfield Park AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Litchfield Park AZ programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Litchfield Park home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Litchfield Park AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Best Litchfield Park Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Litchfield Park Arizona.