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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Maricopa AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program 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 interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Maricopa AZ

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas 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 numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Maricopa Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Maricopa AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job 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 specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Maricopa Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Maricopa AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following 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 assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Maricopa Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Maricopa AZ program you choose should also furnish 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? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent 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 college has a sizable network of Maricopa AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Maricopa AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. 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 less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Maricopa AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Maricopa home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Maricopa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Maricopa ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.