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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Oro Valley AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Oro Valley 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 important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, 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 Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Oro Valley AZ

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

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers 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 principles, Oro Valley Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Oro Valley AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Oro Valley 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 selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Oro Valley AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Oro Valley Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Oro Valley AZ school you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Oro Valley AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Oro Valley AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Oro Valley AZ programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Oro Valley home, visit the campus 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Oro Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Oro Valley ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oro Valley Arizona.