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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Maricopa AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Maricopa 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 spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Maricopa AZ

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Maricopa Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Maricopa AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Maricopa 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Maricopa AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected 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 programs and instructors. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Maricopa Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Maricopa AZ school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Maricopa AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Maricopa AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Maricopa AZ schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Maricopa home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly 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 offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Maricopa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Maricopa ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.