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How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course near New River Arizona

New River Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near New River AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in New River AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area 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 dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, New River AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in New River AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits 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 training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 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 study in the comfort of their New River AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your New River AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many New River AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the New River AZ college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out 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 profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of New River AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the New River AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the New River AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your New River home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant 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 sure 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, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About New River Interior Design Courses

Choose in the Right New River Interior Design School

Selecting the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided 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 superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New River Arizona.