Interior Designer College
How to Find the Best One Near Oro Valley Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Oro Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just how do you go about finding the right school? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Oro Valley AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Oro Valley AZ interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Oro Valley AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take 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 short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Oro Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Oro Valley AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 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 colleges. Also, a number of Oro Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Oro Valley AZ program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Oro Valley AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Oro Valley AZ schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Oro Valley AZ programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Oro Valley home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find Out More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Oro Valley
Choose the Best Oro Valley Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations 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 drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oro Valley Arizona.
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