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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Avondale AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Avondale AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your skills 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 exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of 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 key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. 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 first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Avondale AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Avondale AZ can specialize in:

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

There are various 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 picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Avondale Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Avondale AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally 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 required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Avondale AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the comfort of their Avondale AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Avondale AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Avondale Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination 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 as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Avondale AZ school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Avondale AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Avondale AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Avondale AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Avondale home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Avondale AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Avondale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Avondale ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avondale Arizona.