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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Maricopa AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Maricopa AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Maricopa AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Maricopa AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, 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 appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Maricopa Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Maricopa AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Maricopa AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Maricopa AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Maricopa AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at 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 essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Maricopa Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Maricopa AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Maricopa AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Maricopa AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Maricopa AZ colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Maricopa home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some 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? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Maricopa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Maricopa ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Maricopa Arizona.