How to Find an Interior Design Degree Program near Paradise Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Paradise Valley AZ, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics 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 more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Paradise Valley AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Paradise Valley AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Paradise Valley AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally 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 professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Paradise Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending 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 schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Paradise Valley AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Paradise Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Paradise Valley AZ college you select should also provide the appropriate training 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Paradise Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Paradise Valley AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Paradise Valley AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Paradise Valley home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Paradise Valley AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Paradise Valley AZ?
Paradise Valley, Arizona
Paradise Valley is a small, affluent town in Maricopa County, Arizona. The town is known for its luxury golf courses, shopping, and restaurant scene. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 12,820. Despite the town's relatively small area and population compared to other municipalities in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Paradise Valley is home to eight full-service resorts, making it one of Arizona's premier tourist destinations. It is also known for expensive real estate.
It should not be confused with Paradise Valley Village, an official municipal designation, in northeast Phoenix. For instance, Paradise Valley Community College, Paradise Valley High School, Paradise Valley Hospital, Paradise Valley Mall, and Paradise Valley Golf Course are all located several miles to the north of the town, in Phoenix. The town's name along with all the other various entities bearing the same name comes from the expansive area known as Paradise Valley, that spreads from north of the Phoenix mountains to Cave Creek and Carefree on the north and the McDowell Mountains to the east.
The Paradise Valley Unified School District is one of the largest in the state, though like many other institutions with the name Paradise Valley, it refers to the Phoenix village, and not to the town.
Select the Right Interior Design School near Paradise Valley AZ
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare 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 Paradise Valley AZ.
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