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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bentonville AR

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided 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 talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bentonville AR

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

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Bentonville Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Bentonville AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions 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 field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish 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 minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Bentonville Arkansas interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Bentonville AR home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick 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 choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bentonville Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Bentonville AR college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Bentonville AR business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bentonville AR schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer 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 may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bentonville AR schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Bentonville home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bentonville AR, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Bentonville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Bentonville ArkansasChoosing the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bentonville Arkansas.