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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course near Green Valley Arizona

Green Valley Arizona interior designed living room with viewOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Green Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. 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 just where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Green Valley AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, 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 main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Green Valley AZ interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Green Valley AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated 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 decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Green Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Green Valley AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below 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 Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important 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 highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Green Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Green Valley AZ program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Green Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Green Valley AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative 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 Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Green Valley AZ schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Green Valley home, go to the campus and monitor 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Green Valley 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.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Right Green Valley Interior Design College

Selecting the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Green Valley Arizona.