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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near San Tan Valley AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near San Tan Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in San Tan Valley AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in San Tan Valley AZ may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, San Tan Valley Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in San Tan Valley AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

San Tan Valley 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 Colleges

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your San Tan Valley AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of San Tan Valley Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the San Tan Valley AZ program you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of San Tan Valley 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 San Tan Valley AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing 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 effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big 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 San Tan Valley AZ schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your San Tan Valley home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near San Tan Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in San Tan Valley ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in San Tan Valley Arizona.