How to Pick an Interior Design Degree Program near Sun City West Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Sun City West 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 spaces, it’s important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Sun City West AZ if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Sun City West AZ often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, Sun City West AZ designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of 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 appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Sun City West AZ that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Sun City West AZ.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Sun City West AZ area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such 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 wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working 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 a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no Sun City West AZ area interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your Sun City West AZ area school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Sun City West AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those states requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Sun City West AZ program you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Sun City West AZ area business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of Sun City West AZ area interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sun City West AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the Sun City West AZ interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending 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, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Interior Design Certification Training near Sun City West ArizonaPicking the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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