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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Casa Grande AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Casa Grande AZ, it's time to start 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 receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Casa Grande AZ

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Casa Grande AZ can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Casa Grande Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Casa Grande AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs 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 components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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 largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

Casa Grande Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Casa Grande AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Casa Grande Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Casa Grande AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Casa Grande AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Casa Grande AZ schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Casa Grande AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Casa Grande home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important 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, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Casa Grande Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Casa Grande ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Casa Grande Arizona.