Interior Designer Degree
How to Choose the Best One Near Glendale Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Glendale AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are looking at before you make your final decision it's very important that you carry out the proper due diligence. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right program? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. 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 several other qualifications that you should evaluate when comparing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Glendale AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Glendale AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Glendale AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations 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 field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects 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 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually 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 professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Glendale AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Glendale AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Glendale AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Glendale AZ college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Glendale AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Glendale AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Glendale AZ schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Glendale home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Glendale Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points 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 respected in the business. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Glendale Arizona.