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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Marana AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Designer School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Marana AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk 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 confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Marana AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Marana AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Marana 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.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Marana AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Marana Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Marana AZ school you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want 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 sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Marana AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Marana AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Marana AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Marana home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask 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, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers 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 Marana AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Marana Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Marana ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marana Arizona.