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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Flagstaff AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 imperative that you obtain the proper 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 training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Flagstaff AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill 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 and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Flagstaff AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Flagstaff AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Flagstaff Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Flagstaff AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Flagstaff Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Flagstaff AZ school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Flagstaff AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Flagstaff AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Flagstaff AZ programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Flagstaff home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Flagstaff Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Flagstaff ArizonaPicking the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.