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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bentonville AR

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Bentonville AR, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important 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 exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many future 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 variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bentonville AR

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Bentonville AR can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Bentonville AR. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter 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) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions 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 components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Bentonville Arkansas interior designer bathroomWhen you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Bentonville AR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bentonville Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Bentonville AR school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help 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 higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Bentonville AR business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Bentonville AR colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential 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 Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bentonville AR schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bentonville home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bentonville AR, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Bentonville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Bentonville ArkansasPicking the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bentonville Arkansas.