Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Right One Near Apache Junction Arizona
So it’s time to begin the process of choosing an interior design school near Apache Junction AZ now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision it's vital that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are several other qualifications that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Apache Junction AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam 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 available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona 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 furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Courses
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Apache Junction AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Apache Junction AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Apache Junction AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Apache Junction AZ college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Apache Junction AZ 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 offices for the Apache Junction AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Apache Junction AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Apache Junction home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Apache Junction Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still imperative that you carry out 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 interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apache Junction Arizona.