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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Catalina Foothills AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Catalina Foothills AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 training choices are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Catalina Foothills AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general 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 essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Catalina Foothills Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Catalina Foothills Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Catalina Foothills AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Catalina Foothills AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Catalina Foothills AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina Foothills AZ schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Catalina Foothills home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Catalina Foothills Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Catalina Foothills ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points 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 regarded in the profession. However it is still important 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 properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.