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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sun City AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Sun City AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other important 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 class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Sun City AZ

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone 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 requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Sun City AZ can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Sun City Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Sun City AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation 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 education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Sun City AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Sun City AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house 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. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Sun City Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Sun City AZ program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Sun City AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Sun City AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sun City AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Sun City home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Sun City AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Sun City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sun City ArizonaSelecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sun City Arizona.