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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott AZ

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Prescott AZ, it's time to start 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 obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of potential 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 variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Prescott AZ

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Prescott AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Prescott AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter 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 required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Classes

Prescott AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Prescott AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Prescott AZ residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Prescott Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Prescott AZ school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Prescott AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Prescott AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prescott AZ colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Prescott home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Prescott AZ, confirm 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 process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Prescott Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott ArizonaPicking the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Arizona.