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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Scottsdale AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided 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 gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Scottsdale AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Scottsdale AZ may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example 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 choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Scottsdale Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Scottsdale AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student 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 provide options in specialized 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. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree 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 some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Scottsdale AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Scottsdale AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Scottsdale AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Scottsdale Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Scottsdale AZ college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Scottsdale AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Scottsdale AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Scottsdale AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Scottsdale home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Scottsdale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Scottsdale ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in 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. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsdale Arizona.