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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Catalina Foothills AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Catalina Foothills AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence 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 need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, 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 Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Catalina Foothills AZ

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting 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 trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Catalina Foothills AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous 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 provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Catalina Foothills Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field 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 programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Catalina Foothills Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Catalina Foothills AZ program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Catalina Foothills AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

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

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina Foothills AZ programs you are looking at 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Catalina Foothills Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Catalina Foothills ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.