Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Best One Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Lake Havasu City AZ now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's vital you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. There are various other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will cover those issues and other vital 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 about the degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Courses
For students who to study in the comfort of their Lake Havasu City AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Lake Havasu City AZ college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance 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 school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Lake Havasu City AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Lake Havasu City home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Lake Havasu City Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.