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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School near Douglas Arizona

Douglas Arizona interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Douglas 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 proper training to put your talents to work. And since several 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 very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Douglas AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas 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 numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to 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 wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Douglas AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Douglas AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated 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 decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Douglas AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Topics 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 analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Douglas AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Douglas AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Douglas AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Douglas AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Douglas AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Douglas AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Douglas home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Douglas AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Right Douglas Interior Design Program

Selecting the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Douglas Arizona.