Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Right One Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Drexel Heights AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. 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 because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's essential you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Drexel Heights AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Drexel Heights AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Drexel Heights AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized 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 programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Drexel Heights AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Drexel Heights AZ home. 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 cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 gone through a rigorous assessment 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Drexel Heights AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Drexel Heights AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Drexel Heights AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Drexel Heights AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Drexel Heights AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Drexel Heights home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Drexel Heights AZ, make certain 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, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Drexel Heights Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Drexel Heights Arizona.