How to Select an Interior Design Program near Prescott Valley Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Prescott Valley AZ, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential 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 important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other important 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 class choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Prescott Valley AZ if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Prescott Valley AZ frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, Prescott Valley AZ designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design in Prescott Valley AZ that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have 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 required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available near Prescott Valley AZ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Prescott Valley AZ area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices 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. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative 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 convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no Prescott Valley AZ area interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your Prescott Valley AZ area school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Prescott Valley AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those states mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Prescott Valley AZ program you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Prescott Valley AZ area business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of Prescott Valley AZ area interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Prescott Valley AZ programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the Prescott Valley AZ interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Interior Designer School near Prescott Valley ArizonaChoosing the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for 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 decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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