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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near El Mirage AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near El Mirage AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in El Mirage AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. 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 areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must 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 concepts, El Mirage Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment 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 creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

El Mirage Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school 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 as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field 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 programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many El Mirage Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the El Mirage AZ school you select should also furnish the appropriate training 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of El Mirage AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the El Mirage AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the El Mirage AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your El Mirage home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near El Mirage Arizona

interior designed kitchen in El Mirage ArizonaChoosing the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.