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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Laveen Arizona

Laveen Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Laveen AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive 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 exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial 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 offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Laveen 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 the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Laveen AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Laveen AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student 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 achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Laveen AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs 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 conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Laveen AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Laveen AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Laveen AZ school you choose should also provide the suitable 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? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Laveen AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Laveen AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Laveen AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Laveen home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Laveen AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Laveen Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Laveen Interior Design School

Choosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Laveen Arizona.