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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Peoria AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Design Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Peoria AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Peoria AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business 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 formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Peoria AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. 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 bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Peoria AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver 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 college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Peoria AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Peoria AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Peoria Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Peoria AZ school you select should also furnish the suitable training 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? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Peoria AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Peoria AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Peoria AZ programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Peoria home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Peoria AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Peoria Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Peoria ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Peoria Arizona.