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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Mesa AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Mesa AZ, it's time to begin 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 obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Mesa AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. 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 taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Mesa AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have 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, Mesa Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Mesa AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Mesa Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Mesa AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Mesa Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Mesa AZ college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Mesa AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Mesa AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Mesa AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Mesa home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend 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, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Mesa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Mesa ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mesa Arizona.