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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Benton AR

How to Find the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Benton AR, 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 imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Benton AR

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business 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 taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Benton AR can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Benton Arkansas interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

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

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually 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 cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically 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 degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Benton AR 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Benton AR home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Benton Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Benton AR college you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask 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 students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Benton AR business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Benton AR schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often 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 one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Benton AR programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher 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 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Benton AR, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Benton Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Benton ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of 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 business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Benton Arkansas.