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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Lake Havasu City AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that 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 talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, 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 compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Lake Havasu City AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Lake Havasu City AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Lake Havasu City Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals 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 certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed 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 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely 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 three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Lake Havasu City Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Lake Havasu City Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Lake Havasu City AZ program you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Lake Havasu City AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lake Havasu City home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

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

interior designed kitchen in Lake Havasu City ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.