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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Maricopa AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Maricopa AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Maricopa AZ

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce 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 Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Maricopa AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

Maricopa Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Maricopa AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive 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 should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Maricopa Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Maricopa AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Maricopa AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Maricopa AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Maricopa AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Maricopa home, visit the campus and sit in on 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 approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Maricopa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Maricopa ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.