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How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Flowing Wells Arizona

Flowing Wells Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Flowing Wells 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 important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other important 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 training options are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Flowing Wells AZ may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Flowing Wells AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Flowing Wells AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business 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 supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

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

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Flowing Wells AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Flowing Wells AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Flowing Wells AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Flowing Wells AZ college you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Flowing Wells AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Flowing Wells AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Flowing Wells AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Flowing Wells home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flowing Wells AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Flowing Wells Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Right Flowing Wells Interior Design School

Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct 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 final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flowing Wells Arizona.