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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chandler AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Chandler AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. 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 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 Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chandler AZ

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Chandler AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially 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 commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Chandler AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose 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 required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment 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 creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Chandler AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Chandler AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Chandler AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chandler Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Chandler AZ school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Chandler AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Chandler AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Chandler AZ programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chandler home, visit the college and sit in on 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 styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant 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 available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Chandler Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Chandler ArizonaPicking the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chandler Arizona.