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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Casa Grande AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Casa Grande AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate 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 training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss 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 options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Casa Grande AZ

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Casa Grande AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Casa Grande AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Casa Grande Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Casa Grande AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Casa Grande Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Casa Grande AZ college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could 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 graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Casa Grande AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Casa Grande AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Casa Grande home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides 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 Casa Grande AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Casa Grande Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Casa Grande ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify 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 presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Casa Grande Arizona.