How to Pick an Interior Designer Program near Parker Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Parker AZ, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Parker AZ if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Parker AZ frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, Parker AZ designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Parker AZ that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted 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 required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Parker AZ.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Parker AZ area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no Parker AZ area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your Parker AZ area college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded 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 instructors and programs. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Parker AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several states do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those states requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Parker AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Parker AZ area business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of Parker AZ area interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Parker AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the Parker AZ interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Interior Design College near Parker ArizonaChoosing the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are several 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 respected in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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