Home >> Arizona >> Oro Valley >> Interior Design Programs


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Oro Valley AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college 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 imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Oro Valley AZ

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Oro Valley AZ can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Oro Valley Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Oro Valley AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 a number of 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 amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving 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 might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available 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 School 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 several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Oro Valley AZ school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Oro Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Oro Valley AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large 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. Find out from the Oro Valley AZ programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Oro Valley home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to 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 offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Oro Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Oro Valley ArizonaPicking the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oro Valley Arizona.