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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School near Flowing Wells Arizona

Flowing Wells Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Flowing Wells AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Flowing Wells AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on 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 needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Flowing Wells AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Flowing Wells AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take 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 short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Flowing Wells AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges 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 minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

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After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Flowing Wells AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing 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 schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Flowing Wells AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Flowing Wells AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Flowing Wells AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing 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 competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Flowing Wells AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Flowing Wells home, visit the college and sit in on 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 philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flowing Wells AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Best Flowing Wells Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flowing Wells Arizona.