How to Pick an Interior Designer College near Maricopa Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Maricopa AZ, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Maricopa AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Maricopa AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. 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 wish 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 use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Maricopa AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must 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 might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Maricopa AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Maricopa AZ college you enroll in 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 working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Maricopa AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Maricopa AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Maricopa AZ schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Maricopa home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Maricopa AZ?
Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in the State of Arizona. With an estimated 48,602 residents as of 2015[update], Maricopa is the second most populous incorporated city in Pinal County and eighteenth most populous in Arizona. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Maricopa has had three locations over the years: Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction; the latter gradually became known as Maricopa. It started as an oasis around a series of watering holes eight miles north of present-day Maricopa, and about a mile west of Pima Butte. European-American traders and travelers called it Maricopa Wells. Several of Arizona’s rivers, the Gila, Santa Cruz, Vekol and Santa Rosa provided this oasis in the desert with an ample supply of water during this period of time.
During the late 1800s, Maricopa Wells was one of the most important relay stations along the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later more famous Butterfield Overland Mail Route. Although little remains of this once bustling community, it played an important part in the progress and development of the Southwest. It was one of the best-known spots in Arizona during this period of time because it had a reliable source of water, and offered an abundant supply of food. The peaceful Pima and Maricopa farmers who lived and farmed nearby sold supplies to travelers and migrants.
Enroll in the Ideal Interior Design School near Maricopa AZ
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa AZ.
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