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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Lake Havasu City AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Lake Havasu City AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Lake Havasu City AZ can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Lake Havasu City Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Lake Havasu City Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Lake Havasu City AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Lake Havasu City AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lake Havasu City home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Lake Havasu City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Lake Havasu City ArizonaChoosing the right interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.