Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's imperative 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 several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are considering prior to making your final decision it's crucial that you carry out the proper research. But just where do you start? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up 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 existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas 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 numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Lake Havasu City AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Lake Havasu City AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business 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 design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Lake Havasu City AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. 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 sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Lake Havasu City AZ school you select should also provide the proper education 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? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Lake Havasu City AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lake Havasu City home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Lake Havasu City Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.