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How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Lake Montezuma Arizona

Lake Montezuma Arizona interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Lake Montezuma AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? 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 factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Lake Montezuma AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need 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 principles, Lake Montezuma AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Lake Montezuma AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Lake Montezuma AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Lake Montezuma AZ home. Obviously 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 fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lake Montezuma AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Lake Montezuma AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Lake Montezuma AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Lake Montezuma AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Lake Montezuma AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lake Montezuma home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask 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? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lake Montezuma AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Right Lake Montezuma Interior Design College

Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Montezuma Arizona.