How to Select an Interior Design College near Maricopa Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Maricopa AZ, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s vital that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Maricopa AZ if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Maricopa AZ frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, Maricopa AZ designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Maricopa AZ that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Maricopa AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Maricopa AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no Maricopa AZ area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your Maricopa AZ area school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Maricopa AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Maricopa AZ school you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Maricopa AZ area business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of Maricopa AZ area interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Maricopa AZ programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the Maricopa AZ interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check 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.
Choose the Ideal Interior Designer Certification Training near Maricopa ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors 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 esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Arizona