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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Scottsdale AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Scottsdale AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Scottsdale AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on 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 read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Scottsdale Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Scottsdale AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Scottsdale AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Scottsdale AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Scottsdale Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Scottsdale AZ school you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Scottsdale AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Scottsdale AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Scottsdale AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Scottsdale home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Scottsdale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Scottsdale ArizonaChoosing the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsdale Arizona.