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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sun City AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Sun City AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas 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 area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance 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. They need to 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 concepts, Sun City Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Sun City AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 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 college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

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

Interior Design Online Colleges

Sun City AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the comfort of their Sun City AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that 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 an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Sun City AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sun City Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Sun City AZ program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Sun City AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Sun City AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Sun City AZ programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sun City home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sun City AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Sun City Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Sun City ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sun City Arizona.