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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apache Junction AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college 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 residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Apache Junction AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together 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 often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Apache Junction AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment 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 facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Apache Junction AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Apache Junction AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Apache Junction Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Apache Junction AZ program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Apache Junction AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Apache Junction AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Apache Junction AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Apache Junction home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Apache Junction Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Apache Junction ArizonaChoosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apache Junction Arizona.