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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Maricopa AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Maricopa AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables 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 issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 class choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Maricopa AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, 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 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 general areas that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly 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 might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Maricopa Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Maricopa AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be 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 several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain 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 alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Study 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 Schools

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Maricopa AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. 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 mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Maricopa AZ college you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask 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 profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Maricopa AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Maricopa AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Maricopa AZ programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Maricopa home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Maricopa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Maricopa ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.