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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 decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Oro Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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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 main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. 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 may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Oro Valley Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Oro Valley AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs 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 normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Classes

Oro Valley AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Oro Valley AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Oro Valley AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance 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 Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Oro Valley AZ school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. 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 a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Oro Valley AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Oro Valley AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Oro Valley AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Oro Valley home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Oro Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Oro Valley ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oro Valley Arizona.