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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Flagstaff AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer 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 commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Flagstaff AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working 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 educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Flagstaff AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Flagstaff AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student 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 alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Flagstaff AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Flagstaff AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Flagstaff AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose 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 an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might 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 employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Flagstaff AZ school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Flagstaff AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Flagstaff AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Flagstaff home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure 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 ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop 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 things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.