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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Benton AR

How to Choose the Right Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Benton AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Benton AR

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Benton AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Benton Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Benton AR. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arkansas 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 furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 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 field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Benton AR student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Benton AR homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Benton AR residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Benton Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Benton AR school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support 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 higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Benton AR business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Benton AR schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Benton AR schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Benton home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Benton AR, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Benton Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Benton ArkansasPicking the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Benton Arkansas.