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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott Valley AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course

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 residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Prescott Valley AZ

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

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Prescott Valley AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Prescott Valley AZ student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Prescott Valley AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Prescott Valley Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Prescott Valley AZ college you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Prescott Valley AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Prescott Valley AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Prescott Valley AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Prescott Valley home, visit the school and monitor 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 philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Prescott Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott Valley ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations 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 superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Valley Arizona.