Interior Designer College
How to Pick the Best 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. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are considering prior to making your final selection it's vital that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Avondale AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Avondale AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Avondale AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance 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 usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional 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 professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Avondale AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 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 perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Avondale AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Avondale AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Avondale AZ program you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Avondale AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Avondale AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Avondale AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Avondale home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out 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 interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Avondale AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Avondale Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avondale Arizona.