Interior Designer Program
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fountain Hills AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice it's very important that you perform the appropriate research. But where do you start? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Fountain Hills AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Fountain Hills AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Fountain Hills AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated 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 choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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 available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Fountain Hills AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Fountain Hills AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fountain Hills AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Fountain Hills AZ school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Fountain Hills AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Fountain Hills AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fountain Hills AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fountain Hills home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Fountain Hills Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fountain Hills Arizona.