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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Casa Grande AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Casa Grande AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Casa Grande AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Casa Grande 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 the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have 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 principles, Casa Grande Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Casa Grande AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level 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 commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth 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 college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty 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 mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Schools

Casa Grande AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Casa Grande AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Casa Grande AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting 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 issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Casa Grande Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Casa Grande AZ program you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Casa Grande AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Casa Grande AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Casa Grande AZ schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Casa Grande home, go to the school and attend a couple of 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Casa Grande Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Casa Grande ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors 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 respected in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Casa Grande Arizona.