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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Maricopa AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Maricopa AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Maricopa AZ

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone 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 Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Maricopa 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Maricopa Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Maricopa AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed 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 furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

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

Online Interior Design Schools

Maricopa AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Maricopa AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good 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 home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Maricopa AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Maricopa Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Maricopa AZ school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Maricopa AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Maricopa AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Maricopa AZ programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Maricopa home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Maricopa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Maricopa ArizonaChoosing the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.