Interior Designer Program
How to Choose the Right One Near El Mirage Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near El Mirage AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers must be 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 it's essential you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just how do you approach finding the right school? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their El Mirage AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting 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 as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field 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 make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school 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 offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many El Mirage AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the El Mirage AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of El Mirage AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the El Mirage AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the El Mirage AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your El Mirage home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right El Mirage Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.