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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Scottsdale AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Scottsdale AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Scottsdale AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Scottsdale AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Scottsdale Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Scottsdale AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals 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 needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Scottsdale Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Scottsdale AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Scottsdale Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Scottsdale AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Scottsdale AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Scottsdale AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Scottsdale AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Scottsdale home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, confirm 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, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Scottsdale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Scottsdale ArizonaSelecting the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct 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 schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsdale Arizona.