How to Find an Interior Design Program near Chandler Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Chandler AZ, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent 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 become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other important 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Chandler AZ if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Chandler AZ frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, Chandler AZ designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Chandler AZ that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Chandler AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Chandler AZ area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no Chandler AZ area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your Chandler AZ area college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down 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 should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Chandler AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do require that interior designers become 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 several of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Chandler AZ college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the state where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Chandler AZ area business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of Chandler AZ area interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Chandler AZ schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the Chandler AZ interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Chandler ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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