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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Lake Havasu City AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Lake Havasu City AZ

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained 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 Lake Havasu City AZ may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design 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 contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position 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 offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Lake Havasu City Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Lake Havasu City AZ program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could 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 Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate 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 programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lake Havasu City home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Lake Havasu City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Lake Havasu City ArizonaChoosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about 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 business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final 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.