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How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program near New River Arizona

New River Arizona interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near New River 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 receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account 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 first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

New River Arizona interior designed modern office conference room

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in New River AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as 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 picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, New River AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

New River Arizona interior designed eat-in kitchen

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in New River AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select 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 discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply 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 trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain 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 options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college 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", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their New River AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain 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 environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

New River Arizona interior designed family room

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your New River AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many New River AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the New River AZ college you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing 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 school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of New River AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the New River AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the New River AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near New River AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About New River Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Right New River Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills 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 points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New River Arizona.