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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Conway AR

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Conway AR, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. 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 before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Conway AR

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Conway AR can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Conway Arkansas interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Conway AR. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Schools

Conway AR student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the convenience of their Conway AR homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting 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 reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Conway 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 limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Conway Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Conway AR college you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Conway AR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Conway AR colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Conway AR schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Conway home, visit the college and attend a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Conway AR, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Conway Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Conway ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Conway Arkansas.