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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott AZ

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Prescott AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Prescott AZ

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Prescott AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Prescott Arizona interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Prescott AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered 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 training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide 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 credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally 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 needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Prescott Arizona interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Prescott AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Prescott Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Prescott AZ college you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Prescott AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Prescott AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prescott AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Prescott home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott AZ, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Prescott Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott ArizonaChoosing the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Arizona.