How to Select an Interior Designer Degree Program near Gilbert Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Gilbert AZ, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some potential 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 decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Gilbert AZ if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Gilbert AZ often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, Gilbert AZ designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design in Gilbert AZ that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be 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 some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available near Gilbert AZ.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Gilbert AZ area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use 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 called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no Gilbert AZ area interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your Gilbert AZ area school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gilbert AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do mandate 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 some of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Gilbert AZ school you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. 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 school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Gilbert AZ area business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of Gilbert AZ area interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Gilbert AZ programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the Gilbert AZ interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Ideal Interior Designer Program near Gilbert ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Arizona