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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Avra Valley Arizona

Avra Valley Arizona interior designed living room with viewNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Avra Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover 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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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces 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 Avra Valley AZ may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Avra Valley AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Avra Valley AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Avra Valley AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college 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 education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Avra Valley AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify 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 offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Avra Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Avra Valley AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Avra Valley AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Avra Valley AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors 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 little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Avra Valley AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Avra Valley home, visit the college and monitor 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Avra Valley AZ, verify 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 process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Avra Valley Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avra Valley Arizona.