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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tucson AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Tucson AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training 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 considering prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover 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 Tucson AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Tucson AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Tucson Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Tucson AZ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick 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 covered 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 required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade 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 provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use 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 required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Tucson 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Tucson AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, 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 Tucson Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Tucson AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. 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 higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Tucson 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 Tucson AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Tucson AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tucson home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night 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, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Tucson Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Tucson ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in 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 imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tucson Arizona.