Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Right One Near Glendale Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Glendale AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just how do you approach finding the right school? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the best choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Glendale AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Glendale AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Glendale AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Glendale AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving 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 minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Glendale AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Glendale AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Glendale AZ program you select should also furnish the proper education 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Glendale AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Glendale AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Glendale AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Glendale home, visit the school and sit in on 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, 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 going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Glendale Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Glendale Arizona.