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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School near Anthem Arizona

Anthem Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Anthem AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus 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 main consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Anthem AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degrees

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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 selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many 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 comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Anthem AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Anthem AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Anthem AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Anthem AZ school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Anthem AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Anthem AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anthem AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Anthem home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. 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, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Anthem Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Anthem Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anthem Arizona.