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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Catalina Foothills AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Design 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 selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Catalina Foothills AZ

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Catalina Foothills AZ can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Catalina Foothills Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose 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 discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student 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 a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that 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 a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing 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 Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Catalina Foothills Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Catalina Foothills AZ program you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign 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 school has a large network of Catalina Foothills AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Catalina Foothills AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina Foothills AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Catalina Foothills home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important 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, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Catalina Foothills Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Catalina Foothills ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.