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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Mesa AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Mesa AZ

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the amount 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 Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Mesa AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Mesa AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain 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 facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five 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 field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Schools

Mesa AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Mesa AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Mesa AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mesa Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Mesa AZ program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Mesa AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Mesa AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Mesa AZ schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Mesa home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mesa AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Mesa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Mesa ArizonaChoosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. 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 schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mesa Arizona.