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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chandler AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Chandler AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of 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 very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chandler AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, 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 and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Chandler AZ may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Chandler Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Chandler AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate 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 exam.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Chandler 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.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Chandler AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chandler Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Chandler AZ school you choose should also provide the appropriate education 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Chandler AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Chandler AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask 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 campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chandler AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Chandler Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Chandler ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chandler Arizona.