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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tempe AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 training options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Tempe AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction 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, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Tempe AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area 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 dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Tempe Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Tempe AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Tempe Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Tempe AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining 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 positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Tempe AZ school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction 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? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need 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 school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Tempe AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Tempe AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tempe AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Tempe home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Tempe AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Tempe Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Tempe ArizonaChoosing the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tempe Arizona.