Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Right One Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are reviewing prior to making your final decision it's vital that you do the appropriate due diligence. But exactly where do you start? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working 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 trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Lake Havasu City AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- 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 instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Lake Havasu City AZ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Lake Havasu City AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Obviously 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 cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting 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 look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Lake Havasu City AZ program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Lake Havasu City AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lake Havasu City home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Lake Havasu City Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still imperative that you carry out 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.