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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sierra Vista AZ

How to Select the Best Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Sierra Vista 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 receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Sierra Vista AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone 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, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Sierra Vista AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Sierra Vista Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Sierra Vista AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally 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 degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Sierra Vista Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Sierra Vista AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sierra Vista Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Sierra Vista AZ college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Sierra Vista AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Sierra Vista AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sierra Vista AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Sierra Vista home, go to the campus 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 approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Sierra Vista Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sierra Vista ArizonaSelecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sierra Vista Arizona.