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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Oro Valley AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Oro Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Oro Valley AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories 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 essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Oro Valley Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Oro Valley AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary 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 require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Oro Valley AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Oro Valley Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Oro Valley AZ program you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Oro Valley AZ business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Oro Valley AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Oro Valley AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Oro Valley home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Oro Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Oro Valley ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges 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 Oro Valley Arizona.