Interior Designer Degree
How to Select the Right One Near Maricopa Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Maricopa AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are considering before you make your final choice it's very important that you perform the appropriate research. But just where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. There are several other factors that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Maricopa AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have 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 required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Maricopa AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs 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 conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Maricopa AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest 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 should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Maricopa AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Maricopa AZ college you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Maricopa AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Maricopa AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Maricopa AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Maricopa home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Maricopa Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.