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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott Valley AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Prescott Valley AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Prescott Valley AZ

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Prescott Valley AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, 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 implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession 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 budgeted 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized 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. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Prescott Valley AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Prescott Valley AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Prescott Valley AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools 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 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 securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Prescott Valley Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Prescott Valley AZ college you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Prescott Valley AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Prescott Valley AZ colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Prescott Valley AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Prescott Valley home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Prescott Valley Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott Valley ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Valley Arizona.