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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sierra Vista AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program 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 residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate 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 assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Sierra Vista AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 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 Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession 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 invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick 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 addressed 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 amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment 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 components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance 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 college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Colleges

Sierra Vista AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the comfort of their Sierra Vista AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Sierra Vista AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program 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 outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Sierra Vista Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Sierra Vista AZ school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support 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 a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Sierra Vista AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Sierra Vista AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer 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 little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Sierra Vista AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sierra Vista home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Sierra Vista Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sierra Vista ArizonaChoosing the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the 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 superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sierra Vista Arizona.