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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Doney Park Arizona

Doney Park Arizona interior designed living room with viewOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Doney Park AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Doney Park AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily 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 hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Doney Park AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Design Degrees

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Doney Park AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief 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 field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components 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 supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the comfort of their Doney Park AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Doney Park AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee 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 ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Doney Park AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Doney Park AZ program you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Doney Park AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Doney Park AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Doney Park AZ schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Doney Park home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Doney Park AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Right Doney Park Interior Design School

Picking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Doney Park Arizona.