Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Gilbert Arizona
So it’s time to begin the process of choosing an interior design school near Gilbert AZ now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are looking at prior to making your final decision it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you undertake finding the right school? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are various other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Gilbert AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive 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 graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position 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 alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Gilbert AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Gilbert AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting 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 jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Gilbert AZ program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Gilbert AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Gilbert AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Gilbert AZ programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Gilbert home, go to the campus and monitor a few 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Gilbert Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.