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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott Valley AZ

How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Prescott Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Prescott Valley AZ

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Prescott Valley AZ may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Prescott Valley Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Prescott Valley AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete 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 extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many 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 college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually 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 schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Prescott Valley AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Prescott Valley AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending 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 schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Prescott Valley AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Prescott Valley Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Prescott Valley AZ college you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Prescott Valley AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Prescott Valley AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually 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 personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Prescott Valley AZ colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Prescott Valley home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Prescott Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott Valley ArizonaSelecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Valley Arizona.