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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott Valley AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Prescott 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 essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 training options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Prescott Valley AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Prescott Valley AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily 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 might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Prescott Valley Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Prescott Valley AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Prescott Valley Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Prescott Valley AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Prescott Valley Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Prescott Valley AZ school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Prescott Valley AZ business contacts 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 schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Prescott Valley AZ programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Prescott Valley home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to 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 attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Prescott Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott Valley ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However 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 properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Valley Arizona.