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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sierra Vista AZ

How to Find 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 choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Sierra Vista AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Sierra Vista AZ can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Sierra Vista Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Sierra Vista AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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) exam required in some states. More will be covered 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 profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

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

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Sierra Vista Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Sierra Vista AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sierra Vista Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Sierra Vista AZ school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Sierra Vista AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Sierra Vista AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school 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 intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Sierra Vista AZ colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Sierra Vista home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Sierra Vista Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sierra Vista ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sierra Vista Arizona.