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How to Find the Right Interior Designer School near New River Arizona

New River Arizona interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near New River AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital 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 alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in New River AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate 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 lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, New River AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in New River AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment 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 creative and technical facets of the business 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 provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly 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 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their New River AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your New River AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of New River AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the New River AZ school you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of New River AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the New River AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the New River AZ schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your New River home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near New River AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Courses

Enroll in the Best New River Interior Design College

Selecting the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in New River Arizona.