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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sun City AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Sun City AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Sun City AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and 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 areas that an interior designer in Sun City AZ may 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 particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Sun City Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Sun City AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions 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 roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Sun City Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Sun City AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sun City Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Sun City AZ school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at 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 held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Sun City AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Sun City AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sun City AZ colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sun City home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out 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, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sun City AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Sun City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sun City ArizonaPicking the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting 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 challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sun City Arizona.