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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Flagstaff AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Flagstaff AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 training options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Flagstaff AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Flagstaff AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Flagstaff AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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 required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required 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 provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Flagstaff AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Flagstaff Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Flagstaff AZ program you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Flagstaff AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Flagstaff AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Flagstaff AZ programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Flagstaff home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. 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, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Flagstaff Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Flagstaff ArizonaSelecting the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.