How to Find an Interior Design College near Somerton Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Somerton AZ, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must 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 reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Somerton AZ if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill 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 Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Somerton AZ frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, Somerton AZ designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design in Somerton AZ that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Somerton AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Somerton AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order 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, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no Somerton AZ area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your Somerton AZ area school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm 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, many Somerton AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of states do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Somerton AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Somerton AZ area business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of Somerton AZ area interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes 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 Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Somerton AZ colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Somerton AZ interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening 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 option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Interior Design Program near Somerton ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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