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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Gilbert AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design 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 interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require 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 crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses 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. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those topics 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Gilbert AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. 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 basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Gilbert Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Gilbert AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Gilbert Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Gilbert AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Gilbert Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Gilbert AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Gilbert AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Gilbert AZ schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college 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 larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Gilbert AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Gilbert home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly 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 sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Gilbert Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Gilbert ArizonaSelecting the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.