How to Find an Interior Design School near Central Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Central AZ, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training 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 school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital 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 training options are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Central AZ if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Central AZ typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, Central AZ designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Central AZ that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Central AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Central AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no Central AZ area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional 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 choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your Central AZ area college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Central AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Central AZ college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Central AZ area business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of Central AZ area interior design schools provide financial assistance 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 enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Central AZ colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the Central AZ interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Central ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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