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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott Valley AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Prescott Valley AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of 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 essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices 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 main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Prescott Valley AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, 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 primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must 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 range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Prescott Valley AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short 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 field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Why 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Prescott Valley AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Prescott Valley Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Prescott Valley AZ program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements 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 design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Prescott Valley AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

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

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Prescott Valley AZ colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Prescott Valley home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Prescott Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott Valley ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Valley Arizona.