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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tempe AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Tempe AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Tempe AZ

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

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Tempe Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Tempe AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Tempe Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Tempe AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Tempe Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Tempe AZ college you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Tempe AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Tempe AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tempe AZ colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tempe home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Tempe AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Tempe Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Tempe ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. 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 programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tempe Arizona.