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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Lake Havasu City AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Lake Havasu City AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working 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 taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Lake Havasu City AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, 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 including Feng shui principles, Lake Havasu City Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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 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 profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain 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 cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized 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. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

Lake Havasu City AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Lake Havasu City AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might 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, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Lake Havasu City AZ program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements 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 undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at 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 regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Lake Havasu City AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

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

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Lake Havasu City AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lake Havasu City home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Lake Havasu City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Lake Havasu City ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.