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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Marana AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Marana AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Marana AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Marana AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Marana AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick 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 brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

Marana AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Marana AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Marana AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Marana Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Marana AZ program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school 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 large network of Marana AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Marana AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Marana AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Marana home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Marana AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Marana Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Marana ArizonaPicking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marana Arizona.