Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Right One Near Gilbert Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Gilbert AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Some potential 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 best option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Gilbert AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Gilbert AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Gilbert AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Gilbert AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Gilbert AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers 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 organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gilbert AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Gilbert AZ program you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Gilbert AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Gilbert AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts 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 probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Gilbert AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Gilbert home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend 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 enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Learn More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Gilbert
Enroll in the Right Gilbert Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.
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