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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bentonville AR

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Bentonville AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital 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 class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bentonville AR

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Bentonville AR can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Bentonville Arkansas interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Bentonville AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment 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 facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Schools

Bentonville AR student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Bentonville AR homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Bentonville AR home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Bentonville Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Bentonville AR program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Bentonville 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 aid offices for the Bentonville AR schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bentonville AR colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bentonville home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bentonville AR, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Bentonville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Bentonville ArkansasChoosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bentonville Arkansas.