Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Right One Near Florence Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Florence AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are looking at before you make your final choice it's very important that you do the appropriate due diligence. But just where do you begin? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. There are various other qualifications that you should evaluate when comparing schools, for instance accreditation and reputation. We will address 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 cover a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Florence AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs 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 technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized 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 mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ 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 degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
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 an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Florence AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Florence AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Florence AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Florence AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Florence AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Florence AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Florence home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Florence AZ, verify 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, family or illness.
Choose the Best Florence Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Florence Arizona.