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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apache Junction AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Apache Junction AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 training choices are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Apache Junction AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have 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 some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Apache Junction AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily 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 may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Apache Junction Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Apache Junction 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 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 several 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 level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally 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 professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

Apache Junction AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Apache Junction AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Apache Junction AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify 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 respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Apache Junction Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Apache Junction AZ school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask 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 profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Apache Junction AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Apache Junction AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Apache Junction AZ colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Apache Junction home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Apache Junction Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Apache Junction ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apache Junction Arizona.