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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Gilbert AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Gilbert AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills 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 exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Gilbert AZ

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Gilbert AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Gilbert AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure 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 alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance 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 degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

Gilbert Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Gilbert AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gilbert Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Gilbert AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

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

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Gilbert AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Gilbert AZ colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Gilbert home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant 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 available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Gilbert Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Gilbert ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.