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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott Valley AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Prescott Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 training options are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Prescott Valley AZ

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Prescott Valley AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area 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 spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Prescott Valley Arizona interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Prescott Valley AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous 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 technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Prescott Valley Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Prescott Valley AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

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

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Prescott Valley AZ program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Prescott Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Prescott Valley AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prescott Valley AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Prescott Valley home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to 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 procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Prescott Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott Valley ArizonaSelecting the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Valley Arizona.