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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Catalina Foothills AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Catalina Foothills AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Catalina Foothills AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Catalina Foothills AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick 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 discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five 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 some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Catalina Foothills Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Catalina Foothills AZ school you select should also furnish the suitable 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 no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Catalina Foothills AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

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 type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller 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 colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Catalina Foothills home, visit the college and attend 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially 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, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Catalina Foothills Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Catalina Foothills ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.