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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Surprise AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Surprise AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Surprise 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 general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Surprise AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Surprise Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Surprise AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money 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 mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally 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 schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Surprise 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 Design Colleges

When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Surprise AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Surprise Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Surprise AZ college you choose should also furnish the suitable 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Surprise AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Surprise AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Surprise AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Surprise home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Surprise AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Surprise Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Surprise ArizonaPicking the right interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher 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 balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Surprise Arizona.