How to Find an Interior Design College near El Mirage Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near El Mirage AZ, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in El Mirage AZ if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in El Mirage AZ often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, El Mirage AZ designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design in El Mirage AZ that a designer needs to 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 selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near El Mirage AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of El Mirage AZ area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply 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 college graduate 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 acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices 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 degrees are largely 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 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 required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no El Mirage AZ area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain 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 Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your El Mirage AZ area school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school 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 accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the right 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 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many El Mirage AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those states mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the El Mirage AZ school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of El Mirage AZ area business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of El Mirage AZ area interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the El Mirage AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the El Mirage AZ interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active 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, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Interior Design Certification Training near El Mirage ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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