Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Right One Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Fountain Hills AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. 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 several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are considering prior to making your final selection it's vital that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But exactly where do you begin? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Fountain Hills AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Fountain Hills AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college 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 might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fountain Hills AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Fountain Hills AZ program you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication 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 school has a large network of Fountain Hills AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Fountain Hills AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fountain Hills AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fountain Hills home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant 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 working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Learn More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Fountain Hills
Choose the Best Fountain Hills Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fountain Hills Arizona.
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