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How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Chinle Arizona

Chinle Arizona interior designed living roomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Chinle AZ, it's time to start 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 proper training to put your talents 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 examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 choices are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two 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. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Chinle AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. 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 instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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, Chinle AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Chinle AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced 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 needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs 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 technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Chinle AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Chinle AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chinle AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Chinle AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Chinle AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Chinle AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes 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? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chinle AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chinle home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chinle AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Chinle Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Right Chinle Interior Design School

Picking the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out 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 colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chinle Arizona.