Home >> Arizona >> Mesa >> Interior Design Schools


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Mesa AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Mesa AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.

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

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Mesa AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Mesa AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 instance 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. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Mesa Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Mesa AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose 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 explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Mesa AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the comfort of their Mesa AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Mesa AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mesa Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Mesa AZ program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Mesa AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Mesa AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often 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 probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Mesa AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Mesa home, go to the campus and attend 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Mesa AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Mesa Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Mesa ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mesa Arizona.