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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 designer college near Gilbert 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 important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Gilbert AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Gilbert AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Gilbert Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Gilbert AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually 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 cover the creative and technical aspects of the business 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 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want 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", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Gilbert AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Gilbert AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Gilbert Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Gilbert AZ program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Gilbert AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Gilbert AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Gilbert AZ programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Gilbert home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. 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 ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential 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 review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.