Interior Designer School
How to Find the Best One Near El Mirage Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near El Mirage AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking 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 talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are considering prior to making your final selection it's very important that you do the proper research. But just how do you go about finding the right school? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are various other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for instance accreditation and reputation. We will cover 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 training choices are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, El Mirage AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- 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 usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their El Mirage AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of El Mirage AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the El Mirage AZ school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of El Mirage AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the El Mirage AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the El Mirage AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your El Mirage home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out 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? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best El Mirage Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented 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.