Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Best One Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Fountain Hills AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are considering before you make your final decision it's crucial that you do the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right school? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are several other considerations that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Fountain Hills AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Fountain Hills AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Fountain Hills AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following 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 profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Fountain Hills AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. 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 convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Fountain Hills AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fountain Hills AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Fountain Hills AZ program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Fountain Hills AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Fountain Hills AZ schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fountain Hills AZ programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fountain Hills home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Learn More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Fountain Hills
Choose the Best Fountain Hills Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors 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 esteemed in the profession. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fountain Hills Arizona.
Fountain Hills Interior Design Courses | Fountain Hills Interior Design Degrees