Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near Fortuna Foothills AZ now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. 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 since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision it's crucial that you do the appropriate research. But just where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. There are various other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fortuna Foothills AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Fortuna Foothills AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Fortuna Foothills AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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 required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish 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 furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily 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 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Fortuna Foothills AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fortuna Foothills AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Fortuna Foothills AZ program you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Fortuna Foothills AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Fortuna Foothills AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fortuna Foothills AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fortuna Foothills home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out 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? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly 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, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Fortuna Foothills Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.