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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near San Tan Valley AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in San Tan Valley AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in San Tan Valley AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. 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 concepts, San Tan Valley Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in San Tan Valley AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make 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 several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for 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 deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

San Tan Valley Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, 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 willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many San Tan Valley Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the San Tan Valley AZ college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of San Tan Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the San Tan Valley AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer 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 important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the San Tan Valley AZ colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your San Tan Valley home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near San Tan Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in San Tan Valley ArizonaSelecting the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in San Tan Valley Arizona.