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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apache Junction AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Apache Junction 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 spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Apache Junction AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the level 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. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Apache Junction AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Apache Junction Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Apache Junction AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Apache Junction Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Apache Junction AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Apache Junction Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Apache Junction AZ school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Apache Junction AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Apache Junction AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Apache Junction AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Apache Junction home, go to the campus and attend 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Apache Junction Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Apache Junction ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apache Junction Arizona.