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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near San Luis AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges 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. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in San Luis AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in San Luis AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in San Luis AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief 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 profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Classes

San Luis AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their San Luis AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your San Luis AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many San Luis Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the San Luis AZ college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of San Luis AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the San Luis AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the San Luis AZ programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your San Luis home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near San Luis AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near San Luis Arizona

interior designed kitchen in San Luis ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. 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 complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in San Luis Arizona.