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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Yuma AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Yuma 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 imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 class choices are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Yuma AZ

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Yuma 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an 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 many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers 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 integrating Feng shui principles, Yuma Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Yuma AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many 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 provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position 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 offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire 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, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Yuma Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Yuma AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Yuma Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Yuma AZ college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Yuma AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Yuma AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Yuma AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Yuma home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Yuma AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Yuma Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Yuma ArizonaChoosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Yuma Arizona.