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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Gilbert AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Gilbert AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address 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 available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Gilbert AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various 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 Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Gilbert AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of 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 programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Schools

Gilbert AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Gilbert AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Gilbert AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 excellent, it may 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 employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Gilbert AZ college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Gilbert AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Gilbert AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Gilbert AZ colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Gilbert home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to 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 attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Gilbert Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Gilbert ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.