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How to Choose the Right Interior Design School near Anthem Arizona

Anthem Arizona interior designed living room with viewNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Anthem AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important 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 class choices are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Anthem AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Anthem AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Anthem AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Anthem AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire 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 school may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Anthem AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 demanding evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Anthem AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Anthem AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination 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? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Anthem AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Anthem AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Anthem AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Anthem home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anthem AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Best Anthem Interior Design College

Selecting the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anthem Arizona.