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How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course near Laveen Arizona

Laveen Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Laveen AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Laveen AZ can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints 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 designs.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Laveen AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) examination required in several 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 level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally 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 degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Laveen AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs 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 college may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Laveen AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 a rigorous assessment 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Laveen AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Laveen AZ program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Laveen AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Laveen AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Laveen AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Laveen home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Laveen AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Best Laveen Interior Design Program

Picking the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education 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 attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct 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 programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Laveen Arizona.