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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott AZ

How to Select the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Prescott AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Prescott AZ

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Prescott AZ may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Prescott Arizona interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Prescott AZ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following 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 two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized 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 degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Prescott Arizona interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Prescott AZ residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Prescott Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Prescott AZ program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high 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 could also signify that the school has a large network of Prescott AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Prescott AZ schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prescott AZ schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Prescott home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Prescott AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Prescott Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott ArizonaChoosing the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate 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.