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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Mesa AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Mesa 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 important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Mesa AZ

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Mesa AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of 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 concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Mesa Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Mesa AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of 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) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Classes

Mesa AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Mesa AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have chosen the interior design 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 has to be within commuting distance from your Mesa AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mesa Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Mesa AZ program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College'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 programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Mesa AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Mesa AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts 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 larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Mesa AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Mesa home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Mesa AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Mesa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Mesa ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mesa Arizona.