Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Right One Near Fountain Hills Arizona
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near Fountain Hills AZ now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right school? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when reviewing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are offered.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Fountain Hills AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use 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 needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Fountain Hills AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending 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 programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Fountain Hills AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fountain Hills AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Fountain Hills AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Fountain Hills AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Fountain Hills AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small 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. Ask the Fountain Hills AZ schools 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 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fountain Hills Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fountain Hills Arizona.