Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Right One Near Kingman Arizona
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Kingman AZ now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative 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 be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are looking at prior to making your final choice it's essential that you do the proper due diligence. But where do you begin? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Kingman AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such 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 primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use 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 needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Kingman AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving 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 reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Kingman AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Kingman AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Kingman AZ program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask 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 profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Kingman AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Kingman AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Kingman AZ programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Kingman home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kingman AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Kingman Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions 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 excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kingman Arizona.