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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sun City AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Sun City AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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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 difference between the two is the level 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 areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Sun City AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Sun City Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Sun City AZ. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive 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 degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ 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 schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Sun City Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Sun City AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Sun City Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Sun City AZ school you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Sun City AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Sun City AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Sun City AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sun City home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sun City AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Sun City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sun City ArizonaSelecting the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sun City Arizona.