Home >> Arizona >> Tempe >> Interior Design Degrees


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tempe AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Tempe AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Tempe AZ

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general 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 room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Tempe AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of 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 deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional 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 field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Tempe Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Tempe AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 establish 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 available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Tempe Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Tempe AZ program you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Tempe AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Tempe AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tempe AZ colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tempe home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Tempe AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Tempe Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Tempe ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in 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 recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tempe Arizona.