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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Lake Havasu City AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to start 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 right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. 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 first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Lake Havasu City AZ

Often 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 talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Lake Havasu City AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some 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. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such 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 mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Lake Havasu City 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Lake Havasu City Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Lake Havasu City AZ school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Lake Havasu City AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lake Havasu City home, go to the school 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Lake Havasu City ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.