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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Maricopa AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision 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 gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those topics 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 options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Maricopa AZ

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ can specialize in:

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

There are numerous 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 produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Maricopa Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Maricopa AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for 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 aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized 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. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Maricopa AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for 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 jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Maricopa AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements 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 undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Maricopa AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Maricopa AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Maricopa AZ programs 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 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Maricopa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Maricopa ArizonaPicking the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance 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 ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.