Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Right One Near El Mirage Arizona
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near El Mirage AZ once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are considering prior to making your final choice it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 options are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, El Mirage AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to study in the comfort of their El Mirage AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working 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 practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges 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 commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many El Mirage AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the El Mirage AZ school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of El Mirage AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the El Mirage AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the El Mirage AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your El Mirage home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right El Mirage Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.