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How to Find the Right Interior Design Course near New River Arizona

New River Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near New River AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 options are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

New River Arizona interior designed modern office meeting room

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in New River AZ may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, New River AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in New River AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally 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, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their New River AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your New River AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable 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, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of New River AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the New River AZ college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of New River AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the New River AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the New River AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your New River home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near New River AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About New River Interior Design Programs

Choose in the Right New River Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in New River Arizona.