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How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Doney Park Arizona

Doney Park Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Doney Park AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount 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 spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Doney Park AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area 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 frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Doney Park AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick 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. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Doney Park AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs 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 study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Doney Park AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected 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 programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Doney Park AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Doney Park AZ school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out 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 students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Doney Park AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Doney Park AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Doney Park AZ programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Doney Park home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Doney Park AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Right Doney Park Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors 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 esteemed in the business. However 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 programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Doney Park Arizona.