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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tempe AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Tempe AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Tempe AZ

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between the two is the level 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. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Tempe AZ can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Tempe Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Tempe AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief 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 roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain 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 cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Tempe Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Tempe AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Tempe Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Tempe AZ college you select should also furnish the suitable 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? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign 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 indicate that the college has a significant network of Tempe AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Tempe AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tempe AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Tempe home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tempe AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Tempe Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Tempe ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tempe Arizona.