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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Surprise AZ

How to Enroll in 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 begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Surprise AZ

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Surprise AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally 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 may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Surprise Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Surprise AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for 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 explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why 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 Schools

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Surprise AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns 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 choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college 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 offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Surprise Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Surprise AZ school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance 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 regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Surprise AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Surprise AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is imperative 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 aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Surprise AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Surprise home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Surprise AZ, make certain 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, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Surprise Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Surprise ArizonaChoosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Surprise Arizona.