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How to Pick the Best Interior Design School near Page Arizona

Page Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Page AZ, it's time to begin 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 right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Page AZ may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Page AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Page AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed 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 obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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 largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Page AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Page AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Page AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Page AZ program you choose should also provide the suitable 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing 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 field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Page AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Page AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Page AZ colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Page home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Page AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Right Page Interior Design School

Picking the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Page Arizona.