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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Flagstaff AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Flagstaff AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Flagstaff AZ

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Flagstaff Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Flagstaff AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination 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 available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Flagstaff AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Flagstaff AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables 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 colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Flagstaff Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Flagstaff AZ college you select should also furnish the suitable instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Flagstaff AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Flagstaff AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Flagstaff AZ schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Flagstaff home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Flagstaff Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Flagstaff ArizonaChoosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed 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 review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.