Home >> Arizona >> Prescott >> Interior Design Schools


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prescott AZ

How to Find the Best Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Prescott AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Prescott AZ

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference 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 skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Prescott AZ can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Prescott AZ. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive 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 college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Prescott AZ student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Prescott AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Prescott AZ home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 a demanding 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for 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 colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Prescott AZ program you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Prescott AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Prescott AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prescott AZ programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Prescott home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Prescott AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Prescott Arizona

interior designed kitchen in Prescott ArizonaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors 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 respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prescott Arizona.