Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Best One Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Lake Havasu City AZ once you have made a career decision to become 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 a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven 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 sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive 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 degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally 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 professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Lake Havasu City AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 many students online schools 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 traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Lake Havasu City AZ college you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Lake Havasu City AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lake Havasu City home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Lake Havasu City Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.