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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Flagstaff AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Flagstaff AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Flagstaff AZ

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Flagstaff AZ may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including 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 selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Flagstaff Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Flagstaff AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of 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 mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually 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 colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

Flagstaff AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Flagstaff AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Flagstaff AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Flagstaff Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Flagstaff AZ college you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Flagstaff AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Flagstaff AZ schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Flagstaff home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Flagstaff Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Flagstaff ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flagstaff Arizona.