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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sierra Vista AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Sierra Vista AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Sierra Vista AZ

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Sierra Vista AZ can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Sierra Vista Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Sierra Vista AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt 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 required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt 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 called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Sierra Vista AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Sierra Vista AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college 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 colleges. Also, many Sierra Vista Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Sierra Vista AZ college you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Sierra Vista AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Sierra Vista AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Sierra Vista AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sierra Vista home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Sierra Vista Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sierra Vista ArizonaChoosing the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in 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 imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sierra Vista Arizona.