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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott AZ

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Prescott 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 obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Prescott AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Prescott AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of 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 might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Prescott Arizona interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Prescott AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain 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 deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Prescott 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Prescott AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 requesting financial assistance 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 colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Prescott AZ college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Prescott AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Prescott AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Prescott AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Prescott home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Prescott Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Arizona.