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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Marana AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school 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 proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Marana AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Marana AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Marana Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Marana AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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 several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Marana AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Marana AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Marana AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded 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 programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might 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 Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Marana AZ school you choose should also provide 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement 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 held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Marana AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Marana AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive 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 probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Marana AZ schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Marana home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Marana AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Marana Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Marana ArizonaPicking the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marana Arizona.