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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Cave Creek Arizona

Cave Creek Arizona interior designed living roomOnce 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 gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up 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 frequently 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 particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Cave Creek AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Cave Creek AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Cave Creek AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Cave Creek AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Cave Creek AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Cave Creek AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing 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 designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Cave Creek AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Cave Creek AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Cave Creek AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Cave Creek home, visit the school and monitor a few 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 experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cave Creek AZ, make certain 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 process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Cave Creek Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Right Cave Creek Interior Design School

Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. 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 colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cave Creek Arizona.