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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott Valley AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Prescott Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Prescott Valley AZ

Some 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. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Prescott Valley AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Prescott Valley Arizona interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Prescott Valley AZ. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select 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 addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed 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 furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Study 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Prescott Valley AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid 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 programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Prescott Valley AZ college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Prescott Valley AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Prescott Valley AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prescott Valley AZ programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Prescott Valley home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Prescott Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott Valley ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things 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 respected in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Valley Arizona.