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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Avra Valley Arizona

Avra Valley Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Avra Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must 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 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 options are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Avra Valley AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Avra Valley AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Avra Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Avra Valley AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Avra Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Avra Valley AZ program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Avra Valley AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Avra Valley AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Avra Valley AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Avra Valley home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy 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 offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Right Avra Valley Interior Design Program

Selecting the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. 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 superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avra Valley Arizona.