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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Peoria AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Peoria AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Peoria AZ

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Peoria AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Peoria Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Peoria AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take 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 brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position 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 provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly 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 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Classes

Peoria AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Peoria AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Peoria AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Peoria Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Peoria AZ school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Peoria AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Peoria AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Peoria AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Peoria home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Peoria AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Peoria Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Peoria ArizonaPicking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review 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 Peoria Arizona.