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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Maricopa AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Maricopa AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Maricopa AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design 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 help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Maricopa AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Maricopa Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Maricopa AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Maricopa Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Maricopa AZ school you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Maricopa AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Maricopa AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Maricopa AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Maricopa home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Maricopa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Maricopa ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.