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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Phoenix AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Phoenix AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Phoenix AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized 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, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Phoenix Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Phoenix AZ. Your decision 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 regardless of 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 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 supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive 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 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 achieving a 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Phoenix 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Phoenix AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school 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 accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Phoenix Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Phoenix AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Phoenix AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Phoenix AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Phoenix AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Phoenix home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some 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? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Phoenix Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Phoenix ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review 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 Phoenix Arizona.