Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Maricopa Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Maricopa AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to assess and compare each college you are looking at before you make your final choice it's very important that you do the proper research. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them 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 requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Maricopa AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Maricopa AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Maricopa AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Maricopa AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting 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 schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Maricopa AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Maricopa AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Maricopa AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Maricopa AZ colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Maricopa home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Learn More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Maricopa
Enroll in the Best Maricopa Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.
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