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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near El Mirage AZ

How to Select the Best 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 gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training 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 distinction between them is the amount 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 a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in El Mirage AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, El Mirage Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in El Mirage AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain 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 offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

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

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your El Mirage AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance 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 programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the El Mirage AZ college you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of El Mirage AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the El Mirage AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and 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 actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the El Mirage AZ programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your El Mirage home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near El Mirage Arizona

interior designed kitchen in El Mirage ArizonaSelecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. 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 ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in El Mirage Arizona.