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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Course near Litchfield Park Arizona

Litchfield Park Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Litchfield Park 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 interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills 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 examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Litchfield Park AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, 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, Litchfield Park AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Litchfield Park AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions 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 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt 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 a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Litchfield Park AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole 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 make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Litchfield Park AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded 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 evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Litchfield Park AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Litchfield Park AZ school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask 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 graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Litchfield Park AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Litchfield Park AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Litchfield Park AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Litchfield Park home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Litchfield Park AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Litchfield Park Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Litchfield Park Interior Design School

Choosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. 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 appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Litchfield Park Arizona.