How to Pick an Interior Designer Degree Program near Surprise Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Surprise AZ, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other important 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 training options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Surprise AZ if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Surprise AZ typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, Surprise AZ designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, 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 primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design in Surprise AZ that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, 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 integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced 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 opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Surprise AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Surprise AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed 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 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no Surprise AZ area interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your Surprise AZ area college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 gone through 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Surprise AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do mandate 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Surprise AZ school you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Surprise AZ area business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of Surprise AZ area interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Surprise AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the Surprise AZ interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Surprise ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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