Interior Designer Course
How to Find the Best One Near Mesa Arizona
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Mesa AZ once you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each program you are reviewing prior to making your final decision it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Mesa AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces 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 residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Mesa AZ interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Mesa AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized 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 mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to study in the comfort of their Mesa AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Mesa AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 acknowledged 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 securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Mesa AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Mesa AZ school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Mesa AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Mesa AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Mesa AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Mesa home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mesa AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Mesa Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations 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 quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mesa Arizona.