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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bentonville AR

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided 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 talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Bentonville AR

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

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

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Bentonville AR. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree 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 mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Bentonville 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 Designer Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Bentonville AR residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 might also help when securing financial aid 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 schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam 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 furnishing an outstanding education, the Bentonville AR college you enroll in should also provide the proper training 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? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Bentonville AR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Bentonville AR colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts 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 large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bentonville AR colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bentonville home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bentonville AR, make certain that those classes are offered. 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 due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Bentonville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Bentonville ArkansasChoosing the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for 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 field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bentonville Arkansas.