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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bentonville AR

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right 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 could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those issues and other vital 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 training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bentonville AR

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general 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 room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Bentonville AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to 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 sure to pick 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. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Bentonville AR residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bentonville Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Bentonville AR school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Bentonville AR business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Bentonville AR colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Bentonville AR programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Bentonville home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic 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 available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Bentonville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Bentonville ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bentonville Arkansas.