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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Lake Havasu City AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 class choices 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 main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Lake Havasu City AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized 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 largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

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

Online Interior Designer Classes

Lake Havasu City AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the convenience of their Lake Havasu City AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lake Havasu City Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Lake Havasu City AZ school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Lake Havasu City AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lake Havasu City AZ programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Lake Havasu City home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night 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, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Lake Havasu City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Lake Havasu City ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.