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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Scottsdale AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Scottsdale AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important 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 class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Scottsdale AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Scottsdale AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. 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 may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Scottsdale Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Scottsdale AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Scottsdale AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Scottsdale AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Scottsdale AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Scottsdale Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Scottsdale AZ school you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Scottsdale AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Scottsdale AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Scottsdale AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Scottsdale home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Scottsdale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Scottsdale ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college 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 decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsdale Arizona.