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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Marana AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Marana AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Marana AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Marana AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Marana Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Marana AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth 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 degree 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 design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Schools

Marana AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the comfort of their Marana AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy 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 many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Marana AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Marana Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Marana AZ school you enroll in should also provide the suitable training 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Marana AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Marana AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Marana AZ schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Marana home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Marana AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Marana Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Marana ArizonaChoosing the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marana Arizona.