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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Conway AR

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Conway AR, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Conway AR

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas 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, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may 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, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Conway Arkansas interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Conway AR. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs 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 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 obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally 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 some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Conway 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Conway AR home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, 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 Conway Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Conway AR college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Conway AR business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Conway AR schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Conway AR colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Conway home, go to the school 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 styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Conway AR, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Conway Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Conway ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Conway Arkansas.