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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near El Mirage AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near El Mirage AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in El Mirage AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in El Mirage AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Obviously 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 decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of El Mirage Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the El Mirage AZ program you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of El Mirage AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the El Mirage AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the El Mirage AZ programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your El Mirage home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important 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, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near El Mirage Arizona

interior designed kitchen in El Mirage ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.