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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Conway AR

How to Pick the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Conway AR, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Conway AR

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Conway AR can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Conway AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Conway Arkansas interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Conway AR home. Of course if you are interested in 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 choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Conway Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Conway AR school you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Conway AR business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Conway AR colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Conway AR programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Conway home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Conway AR, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Conway Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Conway ArkansasPicking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Conway Arkansas.