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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chandler AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Chandler AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chandler AZ

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Chandler AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus 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, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Chandler Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Chandler AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Colleges

Chandler AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the comfort of their Chandler AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Chandler AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify 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 accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chandler Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Chandler AZ program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Chandler AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Chandler AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chandler AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Chandler home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially 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, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Chandler Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Chandler ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete 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 schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chandler Arizona.