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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Glendale AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Glendale AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Glendale AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Glendale AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Glendale AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Glendale 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Glendale AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Glendale Arizona employers will only employ 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 require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Glendale AZ school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Glendale AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Glendale AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Glendale AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Glendale home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Glendale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Glendale ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining 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 Glendale Arizona.