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How to Select the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Laveen Arizona

Laveen Arizona interior designed living roomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Laveen AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Laveen AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas 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 several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Laveen AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Laveen AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • 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 normally completed in three to five years.

In order 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, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Laveen AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges 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. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Laveen AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Laveen AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Laveen AZ school you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once 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 reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Laveen AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Laveen AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Laveen AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Laveen 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 approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Laveen AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Best Laveen Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Laveen Arizona.