Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Right 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 decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each school you are looking at prior to making your final decision it's crucial that you perform the proper research. But just how do you go about finding the right program? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Green Valley AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver 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 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 furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally 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 professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to study in the convenience of their Green Valley AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire 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 environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen 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 must be within driving distance from your Green Valley 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 limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Green Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Green Valley AZ college you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Green Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Green Valley AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Green Valley AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Green Valley home, visit the campus and sit in on a few 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select provides 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 in the evening or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Green Valley Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review 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 accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Green Valley Arizona.