How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course near Paradise Valley Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Paradise Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Paradise Valley AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They 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 including Feng shui principles, Paradise Valley AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Paradise Valley AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several 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 furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary 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 some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Paradise Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Paradise Valley AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Paradise Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Paradise Valley AZ college you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Paradise Valley AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Paradise Valley AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college 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 personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Paradise Valley AZ colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Paradise Valley home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Paradise Valley AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Paradise Valley Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Paradise Valley Arizona.