Interior Designer School
How to Choose 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 once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of 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 in order to analyze and compare each school you are reviewing before you make your final choice it's crucial that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But just where do you start? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven 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 opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Catalina Foothills AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home 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 program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Catalina Foothills AZ college you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Catalina Foothills AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Catalina Foothills AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal 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 Catalina Foothills AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Catalina Foothills home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Catalina Foothills Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.