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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bentonville AR

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college 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 essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Bentonville AR

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal 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, doing business 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 functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Bentonville AR can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Bentonville Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Bentonville AR. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees 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 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, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Bentonville Arkansas interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Bentonville AR home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bentonville Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Bentonville AR college you select should also provide the appropriate 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Bentonville AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bentonville AR schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bentonville AR schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Bentonville home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bentonville AR, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Bentonville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Bentonville ArkansasPicking the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bentonville Arkansas.