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How to Pick 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 designer 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 get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate 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 perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces 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 frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Anthem AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Anthem AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs 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 creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position 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 provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally 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 colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Anthem AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent 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 colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure 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 colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Anthem AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Anthem AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Anthem AZ school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Anthem AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Anthem AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Anthem AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Anthem home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Anthem AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Anthem Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Best Anthem Interior Design College

Picking the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in 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. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anthem Arizona.