Interior Designer Degree
How to Select the Best One Near New River Arizona
So it’s time to start the process of choosing an interior design school near New River AZ once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's crucial you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just how do you approach finding the right program? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other vital 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 training options are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business 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 educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in New River AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, New River AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in New River AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select 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 covered 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 level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Courses
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their New River AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many 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 expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. 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 right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your New River AZ home. Of course if you are interested in 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 also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of New River AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the New River AZ college you select should also furnish the suitable 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of New River AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the New River AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? 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 New River AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your New River home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near New River AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best New River Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New River Arizona.