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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Gilbert AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Gilbert AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Gilbert AZ

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Gilbert AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Gilbert Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Gilbert AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) examination mandated in some 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 amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed 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 provide 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

Gilbert Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Gilbert AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gilbert Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Gilbert AZ college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Gilbert AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Gilbert AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Gilbert AZ schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Gilbert home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Gilbert Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Gilbert ArizonaSelecting the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.