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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Surprise AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Design Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Surprise AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, 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 Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Surprise AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general 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 educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general 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, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Surprise Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Surprise AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take 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 Colleges

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Surprise AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Surprise Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Surprise AZ school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Surprise AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Surprise AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Surprise AZ schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Surprise home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Surprise AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College 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 gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Surprise Arizona.