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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Mesa AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided 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 interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Mesa AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Mesa AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many 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 read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Mesa Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Mesa AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Mesa AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the convenience of their Mesa AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Mesa AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for 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 jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Mesa AZ program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Mesa AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Mesa AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Mesa AZ schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Mesa home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend 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 attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Mesa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Mesa ArizonaPicking the right interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about 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 field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mesa Arizona.