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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near El Mirage AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Design Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near El Mirage AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial 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 options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in El Mirage AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. 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 specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, 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 several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, El Mirage Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

El Mirage AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their El Mirage AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your El Mirage AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many El Mirage Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the El Mirage AZ program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of El Mirage AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the El Mirage AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the El Mirage AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your El Mirage home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. 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, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near El Mirage Arizona

interior designed kitchen in El Mirage ArizonaChoosing the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.