Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Florence Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Florence AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are reviewing prior to making your final selection it's very important that you do the proper due diligence. But where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses 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 accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 choices are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Florence AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Florence AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Florence AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions 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 trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five 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, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Florence AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Florence AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Florence AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Florence AZ program you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. 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 highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Florence AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Florence AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Florence AZ programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Florence home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Florence AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Florence Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Florence Arizona.