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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Catalina Foothills AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Catalina Foothills 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 imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. 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 residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Catalina Foothills AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Catalina Foothills Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Catalina Foothills AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able 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 college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Catalina Foothills Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Catalina Foothills AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Catalina Foothills AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Catalina Foothills AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina Foothills AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Catalina Foothills home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Catalina Foothills Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Catalina Foothills ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.