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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Casa Grande AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Casa Grande AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Casa Grande AZ

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Casa Grande AZ can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Casa Grande AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven 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 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 several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such 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. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Online Interior Designer Colleges

Casa Grande AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Casa Grande AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Casa Grande AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available 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 College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Casa Grande AZ college you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination 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? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Casa Grande AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Casa Grande AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Casa Grande AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Casa Grande home, visit the college and sit in on 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 approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify 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 going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Casa Grande Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Casa Grande ArizonaPicking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Casa Grande Arizona.