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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near El Mirage AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near El Mirage AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues 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 training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in El Mirage AZ

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs 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 creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

El Mirage AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your El Mirage AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of El Mirage Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the El Mirage AZ college you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of El Mirage AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the El Mirage AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the El Mirage AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your El Mirage home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near El Mirage Arizona

interior designed kitchen in El Mirage ArizonaPicking the right interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.