Interior Designer Program
How to Select the Right One Near Chandler Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Chandler AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each school you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection it's very important that you perform the appropriate research. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the best option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are various other considerations that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Chandler AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Chandler AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Chandler AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Chandler AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Chandler AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, 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 Chandler AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Chandler AZ program you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 signify that the school has a substantial network of Chandler AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Chandler AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chandler AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chandler home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chandler AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Chandler Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chandler Arizona.