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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Benton AR

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Benton AR, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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 and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Benton AR

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of 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 some 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 new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Benton Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Benton AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business 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 two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Benton AR home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Benton Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Benton AR program you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Benton AR business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Benton AR schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Benton AR schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Benton home, visit the school 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Benton AR, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Benton Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Benton ArkansasPicking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges 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.