How to Find an Interior Design Program near Florence Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Florence AZ, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Florence AZ if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Florence AZ typically 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, Florence AZ designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design in Florence AZ that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to 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 principles, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Florence AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Florence AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative 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 practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no Florence AZ area interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your Florence AZ area school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest 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 need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Florence AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those states mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Florence AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Florence AZ area business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of Florence AZ area interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Florence AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the Florence AZ interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Interior Design Degree Program near Florence ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to recieve a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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