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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tempe AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Tempe AZ, it's time to begin 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 obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Tempe AZ

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

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Tempe Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Tempe AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Schools

Tempe AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Tempe AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Tempe AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Tempe Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Tempe AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Tempe AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Tempe AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tempe AZ programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tempe home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening 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 option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Tempe Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Tempe ArizonaPicking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tempe Arizona.