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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bentonville AR

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Bentonville AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bentonville AR

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Bentonville AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous 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 produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Bentonville Arkansas interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Bentonville AR. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Bentonville Arkansas interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Bentonville AR home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Bentonville Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Bentonville AR college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Bentonville AR business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bentonville AR colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bentonville AR colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bentonville home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bentonville AR, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Bentonville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Bentonville ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bentonville Arkansas.