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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Mesa AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Mesa AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Mesa AZ

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas 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 Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, 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 incorporating Feng shui principles, Mesa Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Mesa AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance 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 college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

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

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Mesa Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Mesa AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm 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 available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Mesa Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Mesa AZ school you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out 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 profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Mesa AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Mesa AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Mesa AZ schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Mesa home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mesa AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll 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.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Mesa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Mesa ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mesa Arizona.