Interior Designer College
How to Find the Best One Near Coolidge Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Coolidge AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right school? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. There are a number of other considerations that you should evaluate when comparing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Coolidge AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Coolidge AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Coolidge AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions 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 roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Coolidge AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools 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. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Coolidge AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Coolidge AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Coolidge AZ college you enroll in should also provide 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 working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Coolidge AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Coolidge AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Coolidge AZ colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Coolidge home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Coolidge AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find Out More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Coolidge
Choose the Best Coolidge Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop 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 several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coolidge Arizona.
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