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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Lake Havasu City AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 residential or commercial spaces, it's essential 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 training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 training options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Lake Havasu City AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Lake Havasu City AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, 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 appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish 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 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Colleges

Lake Havasu City AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Lake Havasu City AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Lake Havasu City Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several 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 school you choose should also provide the proper instruction 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Lake Havasu City AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. 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 actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention 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 campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to 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 enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Lake Havasu City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Lake Havasu City ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.