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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Gilbert AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have decided 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 spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important 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 available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Gilbert AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Gilbert AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to 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 concepts, Gilbert Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Gilbert AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed 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 provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for 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 creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Study 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Gilbert AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Gilbert Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Gilbert AZ school you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Gilbert AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Gilbert AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Gilbert AZ programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Gilbert home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Gilbert Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Gilbert ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.