Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Best One Near Green Valley Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Green Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since several states do mandate 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 very important you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. 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. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Green Valley AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Green Valley AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Green Valley AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 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 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover 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 secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply 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. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Green Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Green Valley AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Green Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Green Valley AZ program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Green Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Green Valley AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Green Valley AZ programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Green Valley home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Green Valley Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Green Valley Arizona.