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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 design college near Catalina Foothills AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Catalina Foothills AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Catalina Foothills AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have 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 range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have 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 mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered 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 amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business 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 two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Schools

Catalina Foothills AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Catalina Foothills AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative 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 highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Catalina Foothills Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Catalina Foothills AZ college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Catalina Foothills AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Catalina Foothills AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Catalina Foothills AZ colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Catalina Foothills home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Catalina Foothills Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Catalina Foothills ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Catalina Foothills Arizona.