Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Best One Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Catalina Foothills AZ now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right program? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade 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 two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of 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 university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require 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 examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Catalina Foothills AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Catalina Foothills AZ school you select should also furnish the suitable training 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? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Catalina Foothills AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Catalina Foothills AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina Foothills AZ programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Catalina Foothills home, visit the college and monitor a couple of 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Catalina Foothills Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.