Interior Designer College
How to Select the Right One Near El Mirage Arizona
So it’s time to start the process of choosing 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 talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the right option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in El Mirage AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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 degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their El Mirage AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick 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 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 program may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of El Mirage AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the El Mirage AZ college you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of El Mirage AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the El Mirage AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the El Mirage AZ programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your El Mirage home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best El Mirage Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.