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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Oro Valley AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Oro Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Oro Valley AZ

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of 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 various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Oro Valley AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They 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 integrating Feng shui concepts, Oro Valley Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Oro Valley AZ. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose 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 required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous 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 furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a 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. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want 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.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Oro Valley Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Oro Valley AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Oro Valley Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Oro Valley AZ college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Oro Valley AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Oro Valley AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Oro Valley AZ colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Oro Valley home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend 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, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Oro Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Oro Valley ArizonaSelecting the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oro Valley Arizona.