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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Yuma AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Yuma AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential 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 variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those issues 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 choices are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Yuma AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Yuma AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas 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 various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Yuma Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Yuma AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Yuma AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the comfort of their Yuma AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Yuma AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 gone through a demanding 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Yuma Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Yuma AZ school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Yuma AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

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

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Yuma AZ programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Yuma home, go to the campus and sit in on 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Yuma AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Yuma Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Yuma ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Yuma Arizona.