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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Gilbert AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Gilbert AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 Gilbert AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Gilbert AZ can specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Gilbert Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Gilbert AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly 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 deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically 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 take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Schools

Gilbert AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Gilbert AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Gilbert AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Gilbert Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Gilbert AZ school you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Gilbert AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Gilbert AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Gilbert AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Gilbert home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Gilbert Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Gilbert ArizonaSelecting the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.