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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Conway AR

How to Select the Right Interior Design College

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 gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Conway AR

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Conway AR can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Conway AR. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly 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 as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Schools

Conway AR student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Conway AR homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Conway AR home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Conway Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Conway AR school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Conway AR business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Conway AR schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Conway AR colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Conway home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly 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, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Conway Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Conway ArkansasPicking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Conway Arkansas.