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How to Select the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Anthem Arizona

Anthem Arizona interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Anthem AZ, it's time to begin 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 skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics 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 choices are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Anthem AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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 including Feng shui principles, Anthem AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Anthem AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally 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 cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Anthem AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Anthem AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Anthem AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Anthem AZ program you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. 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 higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Anthem AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Anthem AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Anthem AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Anthem home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anthem AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Anthem Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Right Anthem Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anthem Arizona.