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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bentonville AR

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Bentonville AR, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper 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 may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics 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 options are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Bentonville AR

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education 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, conducting 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 educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas 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 the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Bentonville AR. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly 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 deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade 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 design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Schools

Bentonville AR student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Bentonville AR homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Bentonville AR home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Bentonville Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Bentonville AR program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Bentonville AR business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bentonville AR schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from 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 college and sit in on a couple of 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant 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 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 illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Bentonville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Bentonville ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bentonville Arkansas.