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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Scottsdale AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Scottsdale AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Scottsdale AZ

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business 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 educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Scottsdale AZ can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to 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, Scottsdale Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Scottsdale AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative 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 achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally 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 a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Scottsdale Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Scottsdale AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate 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 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation 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 education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Scottsdale Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Scottsdale AZ college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Scottsdale AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Scottsdale AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Scottsdale AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Scottsdale home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol 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 ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsdale Arizona.