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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chandler AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Chandler AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chandler AZ

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

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Chandler Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Chandler AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Chandler Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Chandler AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, 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 Chandler Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Chandler AZ program you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Chandler AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Chandler AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Chandler AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chandler home, go to 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chandler 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 as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Chandler Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Chandler ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions 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 superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chandler Arizona.