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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Benton AR

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Benton AR, 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 important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Benton AR

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Benton AR can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Benton Arkansas interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Benton AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually 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 minimum 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional 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 needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Benton Arkansas interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Benton AR residence. Of course 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 cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Benton Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Benton AR school you select should also provide the appropriate 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? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Benton AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Benton AR schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Benton AR colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Benton home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Benton AR, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Benton Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Benton ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Benton Arkansas.