Interior Designer Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Flagstaff AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's very important you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Flagstaff AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. 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 deal with 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 obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Flagstaff AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Flagstaff AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Flagstaff AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Flagstaff AZ program you select should also furnish the appropriate training 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Flagstaff AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Flagstaff AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Flagstaff home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Flagstaff Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.