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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bentonville AR

How to Choose the Best Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Bentonville AR, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address 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 training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bentonville AR

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Bentonville AR can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing 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 Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Bentonville AR. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals 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 certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the 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 enhance 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 programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Bentonville AR home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bentonville Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Bentonville AR college you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Bentonville AR business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bentonville AR colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bentonville AR schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bentonville home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. 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 enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Bentonville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Bentonville ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bentonville Arkansas.