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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Catalina Foothills AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course

Now that 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 gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. 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 first, 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 and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Catalina Foothills AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the amount 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. 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 educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Catalina Foothills AZ can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced 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, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some 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 furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Study to Become 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Catalina Foothills Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Catalina Foothills AZ college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask 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 profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Catalina Foothills AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Catalina Foothills AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina Foothills AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Catalina Foothills home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Catalina Foothills Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Catalina Foothills ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.