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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tucson AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Tucson AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Tucson AZ

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Tucson AZ can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Tucson Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Tucson AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire 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 use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Tucson Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Tucson AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Tucson Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Tucson AZ college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Tucson AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

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

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tucson AZ programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Tucson home, go to the school 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tucson AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Tucson Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Tucson ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tucson Arizona.