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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Course near Paradise Valley Arizona

Paradise Valley Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Paradise Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Paradise Valley AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Paradise Valley AZ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design 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 Paradise Valley AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available 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 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want 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 as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Paradise Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Paradise Valley AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Paradise Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Paradise Valley AZ program you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Paradise Valley AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Paradise Valley AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Paradise Valley AZ programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Paradise Valley home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Paradise Valley AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Paradise Valley Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Best Paradise Valley Interior Design College

Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop 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 an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Paradise Valley Arizona.