Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Right One Near Goodyear Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Goodyear AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to assess and compare each program you are reviewing prior to making your final decision it's essential that you do the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? When looking for interior design schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are many other factors that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Goodyear AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Goodyear AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to 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 Goodyear AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced 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 choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Goodyear AZ homes, there are online accredited 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 accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Goodyear AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Goodyear AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Goodyear AZ program you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Goodyear AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Goodyear AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential 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 Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Goodyear AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Goodyear home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Goodyear
Choose the Right Goodyear Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Goodyear Arizona.
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