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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Peoria AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Peoria AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Peoria AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Peoria AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Peoria AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees 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 generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Schools

Peoria AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Peoria AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Peoria AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Peoria Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Peoria AZ school you enroll in should also provide the suitable training 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large 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 departments for the Peoria AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Peoria AZ programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Peoria home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Peoria AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Peoria Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Peoria ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Peoria Arizona.