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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near San Tan Valley AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near San Tan Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, 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 vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in San Tan Valley AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in San Tan Valley AZ can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, San Tan Valley Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in San Tan Valley AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such 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 programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Schools

San Tan Valley AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their San Tan Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. 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 ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your San Tan Valley AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 undergone a demanding 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of San Tan Valley Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the San Tan Valley AZ program you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of San Tan Valley AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the San Tan Valley AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the San Tan Valley AZ schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your San Tan Valley home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near San Tan Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in San Tan Valley ArizonaPicking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in San Tan Valley Arizona.