Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Right One Near Marana Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Marana AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are considering prior to making your final choice it's essential that you perform the proper due diligence. But exactly where do you begin? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are various other considerations that you should weigh when comparing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Marana AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Marana AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Marana AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized 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. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire 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 as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Courses
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Marana AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive 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 setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After 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 a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Marana AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Marana AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Marana AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements 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 assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Marana AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Marana AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Marana AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Marana home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Marana AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Marana Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marana Arizona.