Interior Designer School
How to Choose the Right One Near Fountain Hills Arizona
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Fountain Hills AZ now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are looking at before you make your final decision it's crucial that you perform the proper research. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right option just 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, such as accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Fountain Hills AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Fountain Hills AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative 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 colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Fountain Hills AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college 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 gone through a demanding evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fountain Hills AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Fountain Hills AZ college you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Fountain Hills AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Fountain Hills AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fountain Hills AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fountain Hills 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? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Fountain Hills Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fountain Hills Arizona.