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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sun City AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Sun City AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting 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 skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Sun City AZ

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Sun City AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. 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 principles, Sun City Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Sun City AZ. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position 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 provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Sun City Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Sun City AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Sun City Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Sun City AZ program you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Sun City AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Sun City AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Sun City AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sun City home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend 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, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Sun City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sun City ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sun City Arizona.