Interior Designer Program
How to Find the Best One Near Florence Arizona
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Florence AZ now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So in order to assess and compare each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice it's essential that you carry out the proper due diligence. But where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are various other factors that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Florence AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The 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", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Florence AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Florence AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, 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 to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Florence AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Florence AZ program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Florence AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Florence AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Florence AZ colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Florence home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially 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 available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Florence Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Florence Arizona.