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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Surprise AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have decided 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 residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Surprise AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Surprise AZ can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Surprise Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Surprise AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions 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 trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Surprise Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Surprise AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure 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 field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Surprise Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Surprise AZ college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Surprise AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Surprise AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Surprise AZ colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Surprise home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Surprise AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Surprise Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Surprise ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Surprise Arizona.