Interior Designer Degree
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Avondale Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Avondale AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each program you are considering before you make your ultimate decision it's crucial that you perform the proper due diligence. But just where do you start? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Avondale AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive 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 degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Avondale AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. 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 only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower 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 program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Avondale AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Avondale AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Avondale AZ college you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Avondale AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Avondale AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Avondale AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Avondale home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Avondale AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Avondale Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess 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 accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avondale Arizona.