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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near El Mirage AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near El Mirage AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options 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 key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 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 essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, El Mirage Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in El Mirage AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting 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 hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the El Mirage AZ program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of El Mirage AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the El Mirage AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the El Mirage AZ colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your El Mirage home, go to the campus and attend a few 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 experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near El Mirage Arizona

interior designed kitchen in El Mirage ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. 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 final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.