Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Right One Near Gilbert Arizona
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Gilbert AZ now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Gilbert AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take 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 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 profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty 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 programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Gilbert AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Gilbert AZ residence. Obviously 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 picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Gilbert AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Gilbert AZ program you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask 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 trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Gilbert AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Gilbert AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Gilbert AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Gilbert home, visit the school 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find Out More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Gilbert
Enroll in the Right Gilbert Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. 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 schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.
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