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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Conway AR

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Conway AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate 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 carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Conway AR

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Conway AR may 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Conway Arkansas interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Conway AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose 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 covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Conway Arkansas interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Conway AR home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Conway Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Conway AR college you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. 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 high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Conway AR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Conway AR schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Conway AR programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Conway home, go to 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Conway AR, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Conway Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Conway ArkansasPicking the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Conway Arkansas.