Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Right One Near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Flagstaff AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's crucial you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are many other considerations that you should weigh when comparing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Flagstaff AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such 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 mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Flagstaff AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Flagstaff AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Flagstaff AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Flagstaff AZ school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Flagstaff AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Flagstaff AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Flagstaff home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Flagstaff Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.