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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Tucson AZ

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program 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 spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Tucson AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires 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 taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Tucson AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Tucson Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Tucson AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for 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 cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Tucson AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Tucson AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Tucson AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Tucson Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Tucson AZ program you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Tucson AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Tucson AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Tucson AZ colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Tucson home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant 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 offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol 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 ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tucson Arizona.