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How to Choose the Best Interior Design School near Green Valley Arizona

Green Valley Arizona interior designed living roomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Green Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive 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 perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial 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 choices are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Green Valley AZ may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Green Valley AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Green Valley AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Green Valley AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Green Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Green Valley AZ school you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Green Valley AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Green Valley AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Green Valley AZ schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Green Valley home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Green Valley Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Green Valley Interior Design College

Picking the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Green Valley Arizona.