Interior Designer Degree
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Maricopa Arizona
So it’s time to start the process of picking an interior design school near Maricopa 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 develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to assess and compare each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice it's vital that you carry out the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? Many prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the best option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are a number of other considerations that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Maricopa AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Maricopa AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Maricopa AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain 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 colleges may also obtain 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Maricopa AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Maricopa AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Maricopa AZ program you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Maricopa AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Maricopa AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Maricopa AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Maricopa home, go to 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Maricopa Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.