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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Lake Montezuma Arizona

Lake Montezuma Arizona interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Lake Montezuma AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require 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 carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial 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 class alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Lake Montezuma AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. 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 Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Lake Montezuma AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Lake Montezuma AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Lake Montezuma AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Lake Montezuma AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Lake Montezuma AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Lake Montezuma AZ program you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Lake Montezuma AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Lake Montezuma AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lake Montezuma AZ programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lake Montezuma home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Montezuma AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Lake Montezuma Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Lake Montezuma Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Montezuma Arizona.