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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Benton AR

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Benton AR, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Benton AR

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

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Benton Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Benton AR. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete 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 furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Benton Arkansas interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Benton AR home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Benton Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Benton AR program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Benton AR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Benton AR colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Benton AR programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Benton home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Benton AR, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Benton Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Benton ArkansasSelecting the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Benton Arkansas.