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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Catalina Foothills AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Catalina Foothills AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative 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 may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Catalina Foothills AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Catalina Foothills AZ can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Catalina Foothills AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to 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 certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth 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 secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

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

Online Interior Designer Schools

Catalina Foothills AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Catalina Foothills AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Catalina Foothills Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Catalina Foothills AZ school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Catalina Foothills AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Catalina Foothills AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina Foothills AZ programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Catalina Foothills home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Catalina Foothills Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Catalina Foothills ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively 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.