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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Peoria AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School

Once 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 gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, 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 crucial questions that you must ask 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 training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Peoria AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. 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 area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Peoria Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Peoria AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many 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 programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Peoria Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Peoria AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, 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 reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Peoria Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Peoria AZ school you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Peoria AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Peoria AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative 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 Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Peoria AZ colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Peoria home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Peoria AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Peoria Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Peoria ArizonaPicking the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Peoria Arizona.