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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tempe AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Tempe AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital 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 class choices are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Tempe AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Tempe AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Tempe AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions 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 creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Tempe AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, 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 hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 several of those States mandating 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 provide the appropriate 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Tempe AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Tempe AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? 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 programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Tempe home, go to the school and sit in on 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 experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening 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 as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Tempe Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Tempe ArizonaSelecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. 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 effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tempe Arizona.