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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Goodyear AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Goodyear AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will cover 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Goodyear AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Goodyear AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Goodyear Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Goodyear AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Goodyear AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Goodyear AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose 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 discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Goodyear AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in 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 an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Goodyear Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Goodyear AZ school you select should also provide the proper education 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Goodyear AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Goodyear AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Goodyear AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Goodyear home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Goodyear Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Goodyear ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Goodyear Arizona.