Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Right One Near Florence Arizona
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Florence AZ once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's very important you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are many other considerations that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Florence AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus 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 might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Florence AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Florence AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Florence AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. 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 schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Florence AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Florence AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Florence AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Florence AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Florence AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Florence AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Florence home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly 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 enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Florence Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Florence Arizona.