Home >> Arizona >> Mesa >> Interior Design Courses Online


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Mesa AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Mesa AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Mesa AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Mesa AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas 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 various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Mesa Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Mesa AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized 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. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Mesa AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Mesa AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for 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 schools for entry level jobs.

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

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Mesa AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Mesa AZ schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Mesa AZ schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Mesa home, visit the campus and attend a couple of 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select 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 Mesa AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Mesa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Mesa ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mesa Arizona.