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How to Select the Right Interior Designer College near Lake Montezuma Arizona

Lake Montezuma Arizona interior designed living room with viewNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Lake Montezuma AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Lake Montezuma AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, 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 spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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 concepts, Lake Montezuma AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Lake Montezuma AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the comfort of their Lake Montezuma AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Lake Montezuma AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lake Montezuma AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Lake Montezuma AZ college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Lake Montezuma AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Lake Montezuma AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little 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, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered 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 will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lake Montezuma AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Lake Montezuma Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Right Lake Montezuma Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors 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 esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions 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 superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Montezuma Arizona.