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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Avondale AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Avondale AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Avondale AZ

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Avondale AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Avondale AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

Avondale AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Avondale AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop 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 traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Avondale AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school 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 colleges. Also, a number of Avondale Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Avondale AZ school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Avondale AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Avondale AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Avondale AZ programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Avondale home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Avondale AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Avondale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Avondale ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential 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 review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Avondale Arizona.