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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near El Mirage AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college 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 spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills 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 as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in El Mirage AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required 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 attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

El Mirage Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of El Mirage Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the El Mirage AZ program you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of El Mirage AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the El Mirage AZ schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the El Mirage AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your El Mirage home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches 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 active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near El Mirage Arizona

interior designed kitchen in El Mirage ArizonaPicking the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.