Interior Designer Degree
How to Select the Right One Near Maricopa Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Maricopa AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's crucial you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are a number of other qualifications that you should evaluate when comparing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Maricopa AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Maricopa AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Maricopa AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Maricopa AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Maricopa AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Maricopa AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Maricopa AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Maricopa AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Maricopa home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to 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, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Maricopa Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.