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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott AZ

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Prescott AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 class options are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Prescott AZ

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Prescott AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. 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 concepts, Prescott Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Prescott AZ. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain 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 creative and technical components 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Prescott Arizona interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Prescott AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Prescott Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Prescott AZ school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Prescott AZ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Prescott AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prescott AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Prescott home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Prescott Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott ArizonaChoosing the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Arizona.