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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Peoria AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Peoria AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should 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 looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Peoria AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Peoria AZ can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Peoria Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Peoria AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want 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.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Peoria Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Peoria AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Peoria Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Peoria AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Peoria AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Peoria AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Peoria AZ schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Peoria home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Peoria AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Peoria Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Peoria ArizonaPicking the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic 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 difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Peoria Arizona.