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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Scottsdale AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school 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 spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, 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 and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Scottsdale AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas 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 essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Scottsdale Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Scottsdale AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain 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 technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Schools

Scottsdale AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Scottsdale AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Scottsdale AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing 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 Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Scottsdale AZ college you choose should also furnish the suitable education 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? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Scottsdale AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Scottsdale AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Scottsdale AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Scottsdale home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Scottsdale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Scottsdale ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsdale Arizona.