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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course near Fountain Hills Arizona

Fountain Hills Arizona interior designed living room with viewNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fountain Hills AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Fountain Hills AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Fountain Hills AZ interior designers implement a wide variety 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 get the training necessary to start your new career in Fountain Hills AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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 required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions 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 aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Fountain Hills AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option 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 commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 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 ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Fountain Hills AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school 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, a number of Fountain Hills AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Fountain Hills AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Fountain Hills AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Fountain Hills AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fountain Hills AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fountain Hills home, go to the college and sit in on a few 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Fountain Hills Interior Design Program

Selecting the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fountain Hills Arizona.