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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sun City AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Sun City AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Sun City AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Sun City AZ can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Sun City Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Sun City AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available 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 four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt 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 field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Sun City AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance 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 colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Sun City AZ school you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Sun City AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Sun City AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college 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 aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Sun City AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Sun City home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sun City AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Sun City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sun City ArizonaSelecting the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sun City Arizona.