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How to Select the Right Interior Designer College near Fort Mohave Arizona

Fort Mohave Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fort Mohave 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 spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business 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 educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fort Mohave AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may 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, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Fort Mohave AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Fort Mohave AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally 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 schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Fort Mohave AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Fort Mohave AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded 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 programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fort Mohave AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Fort Mohave AZ program you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Fort Mohave AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Fort Mohave AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fort Mohave AZ programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Mohave home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers 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 in the evening or on weekends near Fort Mohave AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Fort Mohave Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Mohave Arizona.