Home >> Arizona >> El Mirage >> Interior Design Colleges


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near El Mirage AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Designer School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near El Mirage AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in El Mirage AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to 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 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 offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university 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 require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

El Mirage Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 confirm 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 colleges. Also, many El Mirage Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the El Mirage AZ school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of El Mirage AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the El Mirage AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the El Mirage AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your El Mirage home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out 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, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active 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 El Mirage AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near El Mirage Arizona

interior designed kitchen in El Mirage ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest 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 appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.