Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Fortuna Foothills AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to assess and compare each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection it's vital that you do the proper research. But just where do you start? When looking for interior design schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. 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 a number of other considerations that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fortuna Foothills AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can 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 functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Fortuna Foothills AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Fortuna Foothills AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges 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 Design Courses
For students who to study in the convenience of their Fortuna Foothills AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fortuna Foothills AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Fortuna Foothills AZ school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Fortuna Foothills AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Fortuna Foothills AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fortuna Foothills AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fortuna Foothills home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fortuna Foothills AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Fortuna Foothills Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.