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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Flagstaff AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Flagstaff 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 essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to 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 looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Flagstaff AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Flagstaff AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Flagstaff Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Flagstaff AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous 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 comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt 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 called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Schools

Flagstaff AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their Flagstaff AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Flagstaff AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Flagstaff Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Flagstaff AZ program you choose should also furnish the suitable training 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 design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Flagstaff AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Flagstaff AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Flagstaff home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Flagstaff Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Flagstaff ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.