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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fayetteville AR

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Fayetteville AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate 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 training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues 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 available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Fayetteville AR

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as 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 architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Fayetteville AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might 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, such as 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 incorporating Feng shui principles, Fayetteville Arkansas interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Fayetteville AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to 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) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with 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 obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the 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. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Classes

Fayetteville AR student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Fayetteville AR homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Fayetteville AR residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fayetteville Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Fayetteville AR program you choose should also provide the suitable training 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Fayetteville AR business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Fayetteville AR schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fayetteville AR programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fayetteville home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Fayetteville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Fayetteville ArkansasPicking the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville Arkansas.