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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Big Park Arizona

Big Park Arizona interior designed living room with viewNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Big Park AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Big Park AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Big Park AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth 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 credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Big Park AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving 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 make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Big Park AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Big Park AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Big Park AZ college you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Big Park AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Big Park AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small 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 Big Park AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Big Park home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Big Park AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Big Park Interior Design College

Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Big Park Arizona.