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How to Pick the Right Interior Design College 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 picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Anthem AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Anthem AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide 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 programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Anthem AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes 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 attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Anthem AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Anthem AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Anthem AZ school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement 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 regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Anthem AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Anthem AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Anthem AZ programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Anthem home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anthem AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Anthem Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Anthem Interior Design School

Choosing the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anthem Arizona.