Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Fountain Hills Arizona
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Fountain Hills AZ once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection it's crucial that you do the proper due diligence. But just how do you undertake finding the right school? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are many other qualifications that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Fountain Hills AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Fountain Hills AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain 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 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 mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally 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 deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want 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 as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Fountain Hills AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Fountain Hills AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might 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 programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Fountain Hills AZ college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Fountain Hills AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Fountain Hills AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fountain Hills AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fountain Hills home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Fountain Hills Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fountain Hills Arizona.