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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Flagstaff AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Flagstaff AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Flagstaff AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad 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 essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Flagstaff AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions 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 creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Flagstaff Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Flagstaff AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Flagstaff Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Flagstaff AZ college you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Flagstaff AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Flagstaff AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Flagstaff home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Flagstaff Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Flagstaff ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.