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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Mesa AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Mesa AZ

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Mesa AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Mesa AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Mesa Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Mesa AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Mesa Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Mesa AZ school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Mesa AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Mesa AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Mesa AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Mesa home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Mesa AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Mesa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Mesa ArizonaPicking the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. 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 conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mesa Arizona.