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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near San Tan Valley AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near San Tan Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in San Tan Valley AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in San Tan Valley AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, San Tan Valley Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in San Tan Valley AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally 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 field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Train 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your San Tan Valley AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house 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 school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many San Tan Valley Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the San Tan Valley AZ school you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of San Tan Valley AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the San Tan Valley AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the San Tan Valley AZ colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your San Tan Valley home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

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

interior designed kitchen in San Tan Valley ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. 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 programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in San Tan Valley Arizona.