Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Catalina Foothills AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's vital you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students begin 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 determination, they are by no means the only ones. There are several other qualifications that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use 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 required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For students who to study in the comfort of their Catalina Foothills AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges 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 traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Catalina Foothills AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Catalina Foothills AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Catalina Foothills AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Catalina Foothills AZ programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Catalina Foothills home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Catalina Foothills Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.