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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Catalina Foothills AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Catalina Foothills AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become 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 analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Catalina Foothills AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Catalina Foothills AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example 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 picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Catalina Foothills Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally 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 required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Catalina Foothills Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Catalina Foothills Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Catalina Foothills AZ college you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Catalina Foothills AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Catalina Foothills AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina Foothills AZ colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Catalina Foothills home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Catalina Foothills Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Catalina Foothills ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.