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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Maricopa AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of 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 essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Maricopa AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate 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 work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Maricopa AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many 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 furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job 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 offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

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

Online Interior Designer Colleges

Maricopa AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Maricopa AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Maricopa AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Maricopa Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Maricopa AZ school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Maricopa AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Maricopa AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper 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 minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Maricopa AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Maricopa home, visit the campus and monitor 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 philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to 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 enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Maricopa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Maricopa ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.