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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Phoenix AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college 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 essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 class options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Phoenix AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have 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 taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Phoenix AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Phoenix Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Phoenix AZ. Your choice 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 regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Phoenix AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Phoenix AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Phoenix AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Phoenix Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Phoenix AZ college you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Phoenix AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Phoenix AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Phoenix AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Phoenix home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Phoenix Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Phoenix ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phoenix Arizona.