Interior Designer College
How to Find the Right One Near Florence Arizona
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Florence AZ once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's essential you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. There are a number of other factors that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will discuss 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 more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Florence AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Florence AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Florence AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- 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 typically completed in three to five 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, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Florence AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Florence AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Florence AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Florence AZ school you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Florence AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Florence AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Florence AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Florence home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Florence AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Florence Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Florence Arizona.