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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Peoria AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Peoria AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital 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 training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Peoria AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two 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 areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Peoria AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Peoria Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Peoria AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed 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 level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

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

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Peoria AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Peoria AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Peoria AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Peoria Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Peoria AZ college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Peoria AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Peoria AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer 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 probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Peoria AZ programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Peoria home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Peoria AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Peoria Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Peoria ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Peoria Arizona.