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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Peoria AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Design Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Peoria 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 imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Peoria AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Peoria AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Peoria AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a 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. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Become 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Peoria AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Peoria Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Peoria AZ college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want 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 higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Peoria AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Peoria AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Peoria AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Peoria home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night 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, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Peoria Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Peoria ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Peoria Arizona.