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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near El Mirage AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near El Mirage AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents 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 examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in El Mirage AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent 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 Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, El Mirage Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive 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 credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire 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.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Schools

El Mirage AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the comfort of their El Mirage AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many El Mirage Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the El Mirage AZ college you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of El Mirage AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the El Mirage AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the El Mirage AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your El Mirage home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near El Mirage Arizona

interior designed kitchen in El Mirage ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.