Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Casa Grande Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Casa Grande AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's crucial you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home 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 various other considerations that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business 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 taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Casa Grande AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Casa Grande AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Casa Grande AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions 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 technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things 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. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Casa Grande AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Casa Grande AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Casa Grande AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Casa Grande AZ college you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Casa Grande AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Casa Grande AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing 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 program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Casa Grande AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Casa Grande home, visit the college and monitor 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Casa Grande
Choose the Right Casa Grande Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Casa Grande Arizona.
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