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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tempe AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Tempe AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of 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 crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Tempe AZ

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the level of education 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 requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories 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 basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Tempe AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be 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 a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish 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 trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets 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 supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use 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 called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Tempe 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Tempe AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Tempe Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Tempe AZ program you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Tempe AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Tempe AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tempe AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tempe home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak 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, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tempe AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Tempe Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Tempe ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tempe Arizona.