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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Scottsdale AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Scottsdale AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Scottsdale AZ

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Scottsdale AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Scottsdale Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Scottsdale AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Schools

Scottsdale AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the comfort of their Scottsdale AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. 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 some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be 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 colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Scottsdale AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Scottsdale Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Scottsdale AZ program you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Scottsdale AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Scottsdale AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Scottsdale AZ colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Scottsdale home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Scottsdale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Scottsdale ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. 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 carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsdale Arizona.