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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Phoenix AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Phoenix AZ, it's time to start 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 appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Phoenix AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Phoenix AZ can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Phoenix Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Phoenix AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for 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 descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Phoenix Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Phoenix AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Phoenix Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Phoenix AZ school you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Phoenix AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Phoenix AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Phoenix AZ programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Phoenix home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Phoenix Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Phoenix ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phoenix Arizona.