Interior Designer Degree
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Flagstaff Arizona
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Flagstaff AZ now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's crucial you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important 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 class options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Flagstaff AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Flagstaff AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Flagstaff AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Flagstaff AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Flagstaff AZ college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Flagstaff AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Flagstaff AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Flagstaff home, go to the college and monitor 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Flagstaff Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.