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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Flagstaff AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Flagstaff AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper 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 could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Flagstaff AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Flagstaff AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Flagstaff Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Flagstaff AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select 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 available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade 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 supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many 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 college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

Flagstaff Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Flagstaff AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Flagstaff Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Flagstaff AZ school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Flagstaff AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Flagstaff AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Flagstaff home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Flagstaff Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Flagstaff ArizonaPicking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.