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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near San Tan Valley AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in San Tan Valley AZ

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic 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 Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in San Tan Valley AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, San Tan Valley Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in San Tan Valley AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

San Tan Valley Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your San Tan Valley AZ residence. 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 decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer 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 industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of San Tan Valley Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the San Tan Valley AZ school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education 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 design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of San Tan Valley AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the San Tan Valley AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the San Tan Valley AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your San Tan Valley home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and 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.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near San Tan Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in San Tan Valley ArizonaChoosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in San Tan Valley Arizona.