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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Conway AR

How to Find the Best Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Conway AR, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Conway AR

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Conway AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an 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 primary concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to 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 utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Conway AR. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short 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 profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized 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 programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Conway Arkansas interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Conway AR home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 undergone an extensive evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Conway Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Conway AR college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help 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 higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Conway AR business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Conway AR colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. 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 ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Conway AR programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Conway home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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? Last, verify that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Conway AR, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Conway Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Conway ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools 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 Conway Arkansas.