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How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Cave Creek Arizona

Cave Creek Arizona interior designed living room with viewNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Cave Creek 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 interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic 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 Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Cave Creek AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Cave Creek AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Cave Creek AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally 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 professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Cave Creek AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance 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 right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Cave Creek AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Cave Creek AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Cave Creek AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Cave Creek AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Cave Creek AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Cave Creek AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cave Creek home, go to 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 approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cave Creek AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Best Cave Creek Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cave Creek Arizona.