How to Pick the Best Interior Designer College near Litchfield Park Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Litchfield Park AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several 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 do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Litchfield Park AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate 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, including 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 carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Litchfield Park AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Litchfield Park AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. 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 want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Litchfield Park AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Litchfield Park AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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 gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Litchfield Park AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Litchfield Park AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements 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 designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Litchfield Park AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Litchfield Park AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Litchfield Park AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Litchfield Park home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Litchfield Park AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Litchfield Park Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However 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 properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Litchfield Park Arizona.