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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 entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Big Park AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Big Park AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Big Park AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Big Park AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure 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 some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components 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 furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Big Park AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Big Park AZ home. 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 expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence 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 school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Big Park AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Big Park AZ program you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Big Park AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Big Park AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Big Park AZ colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Big Park home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Big Park AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Big Park Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Big Park Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Big Park Arizona.