Interior Designer Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Chandler Arizona
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Chandler AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are considering before you make your ultimate choice it's essential that you do the proper research. But just how do you approach finding the right program? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 choices are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Chandler AZ may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Chandler AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Chandler AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five 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, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Chandler AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs 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 study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Chandler AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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 gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chandler AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Chandler AZ school you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Chandler AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Chandler AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors 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 probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chandler AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chandler home, go to the college and sit in on a few 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chandler AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Chandler Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chandler Arizona.