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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Oro Valley AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Oro Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Oro Valley AZ

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

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Oro Valley Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Oro Valley AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select 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 descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Oro Valley Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Oro Valley AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Oro Valley Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Oro Valley AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Oro Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Oro Valley AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Oro Valley AZ schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Oro Valley home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, verify 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, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Oro Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Oro Valley ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oro Valley Arizona.