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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Mesa AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design 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 residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation 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 prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking 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 sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Mesa AZ

Many people mistake 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 have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Mesa AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Mesa Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Mesa AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

Mesa Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Mesa AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, 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 selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance 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 jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Mesa AZ college you choose should also provide the proper instruction 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Mesa AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Mesa AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges 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. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Mesa AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Mesa home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to 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 attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Mesa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Mesa ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mesa Arizona.