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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Casa Grande AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Casa Grande AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Casa Grande AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Casa Grande AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Casa Grande Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Casa Grande AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Casa Grande AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Casa Grande AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college 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 accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of 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 get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Casa Grande AZ college you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Casa Grande AZ business relationships where they can place 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 evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Casa Grande AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Casa Grande home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Casa Grande Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Casa Grande ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Casa Grande Arizona.