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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Chino Valley Arizona

Chino Valley Arizona interior designed living roomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Chino Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Chino Valley AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly 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 might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Chino Valley AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Chino Valley AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required 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 provide 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ 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", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Chino Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Chino Valley AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Chino Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Chino Valley AZ college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Chino Valley AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Chino Valley AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chino Valley AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chino Valley 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Chino Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Chino Valley Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Best Chino Valley Interior Design Program

Picking the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chino Valley Arizona.