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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Surprise AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Surprise AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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 Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Surprise AZ

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Surprise AZ may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Surprise Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Surprise AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous 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 deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally 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 called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Surprise Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Surprise AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Surprise Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Surprise AZ program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Surprise AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Surprise AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Surprise AZ programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Surprise home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Surprise AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Surprise Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Surprise ArizonaChoosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Surprise Arizona.