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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apache Junction AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Apache Junction AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other crucial 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 class options are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Apache Junction AZ

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Apache Junction AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. 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 meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Apache Junction Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Apache Junction AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical 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 training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Apache Junction Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Apache Junction AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Apache Junction Arizona 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 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, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Apache Junction AZ college you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Apache Junction AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Apache Junction AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Apache Junction AZ programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Apache Junction home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Apache Junction Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Apache Junction ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing 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. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apache Junction Arizona.