Interior Designer Degree
How to Choose the Right One Near El Mirage Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near El Mirage AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? When looking for interior design schools, many potential students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are a number of other qualifications that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, El Mirage AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their El Mirage AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed 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 convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your El Mirage AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many El Mirage AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the El Mirage AZ college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of El Mirage AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the El Mirage AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the El Mirage AZ schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your El Mirage home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find Out More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in El Mirage
Choose the Best El Mirage Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.
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