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How to Choose the Right Interior Design School near Douglas Arizona

Douglas Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Douglas AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between them 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 spaces. However, doing business 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 trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Douglas AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Douglas AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Douglas AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief 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 profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment 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 creative and technical 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 two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such 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. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Douglas AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want 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 driving distance from your Douglas AZ residence. Obviously 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 options as well. But selecting 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 issues that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Douglas AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Douglas AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Douglas AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Douglas AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Douglas AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Douglas home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Douglas AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Courses

Choose in the Right Douglas Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Douglas Arizona.