Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Right One Near Gilbert Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Gilbert AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's essential you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the right option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are a number of other qualifications that you should weigh when reviewing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Gilbert AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Gilbert AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Gilbert AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain 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 cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Gilbert AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs 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 commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Gilbert AZ residence. 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 fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 demanding evaluation 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gilbert AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools 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 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Gilbert AZ college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Gilbert AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Gilbert AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Gilbert AZ colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Gilbert home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Gilbert Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.