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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Green Valley Arizona

Green Valley Arizona interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Green Valley AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Green Valley AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Green Valley AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ 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 require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Green Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy 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 many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Green Valley AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Green Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Green Valley AZ school you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Green Valley AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Green Valley AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts 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 probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Green Valley AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Green Valley home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Green Valley Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Green Valley Arizona.