Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Florence Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Florence AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's crucial you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right school? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Florence AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Florence AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Florence AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure 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 a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Florence AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Florence AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Florence AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Florence AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Florence AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Florence AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Florence AZ schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Florence home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Florence AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Florence Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Florence Arizona.