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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near San Tan Valley AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near San Tan Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in San Tan Valley AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone 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 requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in San Tan Valley AZ may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, San Tan Valley Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in San Tan Valley AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed 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 provide advanced training in design after attaining the 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Study to Become 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your San Tan Valley AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many San Tan Valley Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the San Tan Valley AZ program you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out 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 field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of San Tan Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the San Tan Valley AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the San Tan Valley AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your San Tan Valley home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near San Tan Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in San Tan Valley ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided 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 excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in San Tan Valley Arizona.