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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near San Luis AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near San Luis 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 spaces, 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 exam also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in San Luis AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in San Luis AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, San Luis Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in San Luis AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted 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 needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered 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 level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily 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 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

San Luis AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their San Luis AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. 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 only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your San Luis AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house 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 program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many San Luis Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the San Luis AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of San Luis AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the San Luis AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the San Luis AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your San Luis home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near San Luis AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near San Luis Arizona

interior designed kitchen in San Luis ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in San Luis Arizona.