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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near San Luis AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near San Luis 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 mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in San Luis AZ

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in San Luis AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example 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 concepts, San Luis Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in San Luis 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 regardless of which degree program you choose 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 covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many 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 in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

San Luis Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your San Luis AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many San Luis Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the San Luis AZ school you enroll in should also provide the proper training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of San Luis AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the San Luis AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the San Luis AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your San Luis home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near San Luis AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near San Luis Arizona

interior designed kitchen in San Luis ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in San Luis Arizona.