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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near El Mirage AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near El Mirage AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in El Mirage AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, El Mirage Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered 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 four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve 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 typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional 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 called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

El Mirage Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of El Mirage Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the El Mirage AZ program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of El Mirage AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the El Mirage AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the El Mirage AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your El Mirage home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially 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, make certain 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near El Mirage Arizona

interior designed kitchen in El Mirage ArizonaPicking the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things 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 business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.