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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott Valley AZ

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Prescott Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Prescott Valley AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various 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 new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Prescott Valley AZ. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

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

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Prescott Valley Arizona interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Prescott Valley AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for 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 employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Prescott Valley AZ school you select should also furnish the suitable training 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Prescott Valley AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Prescott Valley AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prescott Valley AZ schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Prescott Valley home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Prescott Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott Valley ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Valley Arizona.