How to Pick an Interior Designer Program near Litchfield Park Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Litchfield Park AZ, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 class options are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Litchfield Park AZ if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Litchfield Park AZ frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, Litchfield Park AZ designers often concentrate primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design in Litchfield Park AZ that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Litchfield Park AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Litchfield Park AZ area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no Litchfield Park AZ area interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your Litchfield Park AZ area school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm 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 field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Litchfield Park AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do require 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 program. And in several of those states calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Litchfield Park AZ program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out 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 students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Litchfield Park AZ area business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of Litchfield Park AZ area interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Litchfield Park AZ colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the Litchfield Park AZ interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Interior Design School near Litchfield Park ArizonaSelecting the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you perform 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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