Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Goodyear AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 about the degree and training alternatives are available.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Goodyear AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply 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 minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Goodyear AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Goodyear AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Goodyear AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Goodyear AZ program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Goodyear AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Goodyear AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Goodyear AZ schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Goodyear home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night 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 option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Goodyear Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Goodyear Arizona.