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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Surprise AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Surprise AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Surprise AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Surprise AZ may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Surprise Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Surprise AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things 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 degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Surprise Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Surprise AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program 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 education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Surprise Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Surprise AZ school you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Surprise AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Surprise AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Surprise AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Surprise home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Surprise AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Surprise Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Surprise ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you complete 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 programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Surprise Arizona.