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How to Select the Best Interior Designer School near Litchfield Park Arizona

Litchfield Park Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Litchfield Park AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary 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 areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many 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 team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate 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 color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Litchfield Park AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Litchfield Park AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed 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 online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of 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 cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Litchfield Park AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Litchfield Park AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Litchfield Park AZ college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer 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 higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Litchfield Park AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Litchfield Park AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Litchfield Park AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Litchfield Park home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Litchfield Park AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Litchfield Park Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Litchfield Park Interior Design Program

Picking the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Litchfield Park Arizona.