How to Select an Interior Designer School near Miami Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Miami AZ, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 class choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Miami AZ if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Miami AZ often 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, Miami AZ designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Miami AZ that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Miami AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Miami AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing’ to study in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no Miami AZ area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure 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 schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your Miami AZ area school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Miami AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of states do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those states requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Miami AZ school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Miami AZ area business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of Miami AZ area interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Miami AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the Miami AZ interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Best Interior Designer College near Miami ArizonaChoosing the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative 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 properly evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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