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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 design college near Prescott AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Prescott AZ

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

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized 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 color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Prescott Arizona interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Prescott AZ. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 design training after achieving the 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. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate 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.

Why Study 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 Programs

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Prescott AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Prescott Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Prescott AZ program you choose 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 employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Prescott AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Prescott AZ colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Prescott AZ programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Prescott home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Prescott Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott ArizonaPicking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course 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 research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations 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 excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Arizona.