Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Best One Near Avondale Arizona
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Avondale AZ now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just how do you go about finding the right school? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are various other considerations that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous 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 various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Avondale AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Avondale AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Avondale AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for 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 explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Avondale AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Avondale AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Avondale AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Avondale AZ school you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt 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 an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Avondale AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Avondale AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Avondale AZ programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Avondale home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Avondale AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Avondale Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avondale Arizona.