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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Catalina Foothills AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Catalina Foothills AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 alternatives are offered.

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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 principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Catalina Foothills AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Catalina Foothills Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university 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", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Catalina Foothills Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting 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 schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Catalina Foothills AZ program you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Catalina Foothills AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Catalina Foothills AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina Foothills AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Catalina Foothills home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Catalina Foothills Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Catalina Foothills ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important 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 assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.