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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Lake Havasu City AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Lake Havasu City AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Lake Havasu City AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially 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 working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be 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 covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely 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.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Lake Havasu City AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Lake Havasu City AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 rigorous assessment of their teachers 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 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lake Havasu City Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Lake Havasu City AZ school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance 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 esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Lake Havasu City AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Lake Havasu City home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City 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, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Lake Havasu City ArizonaSelecting the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance 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 appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.