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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Surprise AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Surprise AZ, it's time to start 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 right training to put your skills 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 very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools 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 sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other important 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 options are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Surprise AZ

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Surprise AZ can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers 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 principles, Surprise Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Surprise AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Surprise AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their Surprise AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Surprise AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Surprise Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Surprise AZ school you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Surprise AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Surprise AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Surprise AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Surprise home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening 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, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Surprise Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Surprise ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important 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 review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Surprise Arizona.