Interior Designer Degree
How to Choose the Best One Near Green Valley Arizona
So it’s time to start the task of choosing an interior design school near Green Valley AZ once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are a number of other qualifications that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, for instance accreditation and reputation. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Green Valley AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Courses
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Green Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Green Valley AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Green Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Green Valley AZ school you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Green Valley AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Green Valley AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Green Valley AZ schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Green Valley home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Green Valley Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Green Valley Arizona.