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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Avondale AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Avondale AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues 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 discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Avondale AZ

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. 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 educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Avondale AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Avondale Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Avondale AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive 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 credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

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 required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Avondale 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.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Avondale AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Avondale Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Avondale AZ college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Avondale AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Avondale AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Avondale AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Avondale home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Avondale AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check 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 Right Interior Design School near Avondale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Avondale ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. 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 colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avondale Arizona.