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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Marana AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Marana AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Marana AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Marana AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. 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 concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Marana Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Marana AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for 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 creative and technical aspects of the trade needed 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 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish 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 some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Marana Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Marana AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Marana Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Marana AZ program you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Marana AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Marana AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Marana AZ schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Marana home, go to the school and attend a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Marana AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Marana Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Marana ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marana Arizona.