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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tempe AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Tempe AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative 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, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Tempe AZ

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Tempe AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must 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 concepts, Tempe Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Tempe 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 no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs 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 creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally 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 field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Tempe AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the comfort of their Tempe AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of 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 cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Tempe AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Tempe Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Tempe AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Tempe AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Tempe AZ schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tempe AZ schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Tempe home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tempe AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Tempe Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Tempe ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tempe Arizona.