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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Glendale AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Glendale AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by searching 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. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 training choices are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Glendale AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Glendale AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Glendale Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

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

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions 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 needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Glendale AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Glendale AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Glendale AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Glendale Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Glendale AZ school you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Glendale AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Glendale AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately 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 personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Glendale AZ schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Glendale home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. 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 work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Glendale Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Glendale ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Glendale Arizona.