How to Pick an Interior Designer Degree Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Lake Havasu City AZ, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Lake Havasu City AZ if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Lake Havasu City AZ frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, Lake Havasu City AZ designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design in Lake Havasu City AZ that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available near Lake Havasu City AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Lake Havasu City AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain 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 alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no Lake Havasu City AZ area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your Lake Havasu City AZ area school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 gone through an extensive assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance 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 schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of states do mandate that interior designers become 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, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Lake Havasu City AZ program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Lake Havasu City AZ area business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of Lake Havasu City AZ area interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Lake Havasu City AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out 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, make certain that the Lake Havasu City AZ interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Interior Designer School near Lake Havasu City ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider 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 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 colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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