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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sun City AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Sun City AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Sun City AZ

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Sun City AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are several 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 integrating Feng shui concepts, Sun City Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Sun City AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to 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 mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate 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 offer options in specialized 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. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Classes

Sun City AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Sun City AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Sun City AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Sun City Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Sun City AZ college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Sun City AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Sun City AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small 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 Sun City AZ schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sun City home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sun City AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Sun City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sun City ArizonaPicking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sun City Arizona.