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How to Choose the Right Interior Design School near Doney Park Arizona

Doney Park Arizona interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Doney Park 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 spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 vs Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Doney Park AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Doney Park AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives 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 needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects 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 two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Doney Park AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Doney Park AZ residence. Of course 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 fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Doney Park AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Doney Park AZ school you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Doney Park AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Doney Park AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential 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 assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Doney Park AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Doney Park home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Doney Park AZ, verify that those classes are offered. 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 because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Doney Park Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Right Doney Park Interior Design College

Picking the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Doney Park Arizona.