How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Course near New River Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near New River AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right 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 examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in New River AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, New River AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in New River AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced 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 decide 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) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required 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 normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional 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 convenience of their New River AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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 perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your New River AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many New River AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the New River AZ school you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of New River AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the New River AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the New River AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your New River home, go to the school and attend 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near New River AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify 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 Right New River Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New River Arizona.