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How to Pick the Best Interior Designer College near Avra Valley Arizona

Avra Valley Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Avra Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories 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 basically 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 public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Avra Valley AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. 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 programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

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 several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Avra Valley AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Avra Valley AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Avra Valley AZ employers will only employ 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Avra Valley AZ college you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Avra Valley AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Avra Valley AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Avra Valley AZ schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Avra Valley home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Avra Valley AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Avra Valley Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Best Avra Valley Interior Design School

Selecting the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avra Valley Arizona.