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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 school near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift 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 become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Lake Havasu City AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught 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 can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper 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 Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver 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 degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Train 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 Schools

After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting 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 jobs.

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

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Lake Havasu City AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lake Havasu City AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lake Havasu City home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Lake Havasu City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Lake Havasu City ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.