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How to Choose the Best Interior Design Course near Avra Valley Arizona

Avra Valley Arizona interior designed living room with viewNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Avra Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Design vs 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 education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Avra Valley AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Avra Valley AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Avra Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy 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 many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Avra Valley AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance 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 colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Avra Valley AZ college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Avra Valley AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Avra Valley AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Avra Valley AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Avra Valley home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Avra Valley AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Avra Valley Interior Design College

Picking the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avra Valley Arizona.