Home >> Arkansas >> Conway >> Interior Design Programs


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Conway AR

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Conway AR, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Conway AR

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess 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 work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Conway AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals 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, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Conway Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Conway AR. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions 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 components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced design training after achieving 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

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 Programs

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Conway AR home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of 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 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Conway AR school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Conway AR business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Conway AR schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Conway AR programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Conway home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Conway AR, verify that those classes are offered. 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 because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Conway Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Conway ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Conway Arkansas.