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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Page Arizona

Page Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Page AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Page AZ can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Page AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Page AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven 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, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Page AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending 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 programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Page AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence 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 school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Page AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School 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 in addition to 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. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Page AZ program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Page AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Page AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Page AZ schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Page home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Page AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Page Interior Design School

Picking the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Page Arizona.