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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sierra Vista AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Sierra Vista AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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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 principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working 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 living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Sierra Vista AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must 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 concepts, Sierra Vista Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Sierra Vista AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

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.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Sierra Vista AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Sierra Vista Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Sierra Vista AZ school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Sierra Vista AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Sierra Vista AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Sierra Vista AZ programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sierra Vista home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Sierra Vista Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sierra Vista ArizonaChoosing the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sierra Vista Arizona.