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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fayetteville AR

How to Find the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Fayetteville AR, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Fayetteville AR

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Fayetteville AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. 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 bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Fayetteville Arkansas interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Fayetteville AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth 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 graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Fayetteville 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.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Fayetteville AR home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fayetteville Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Fayetteville AR school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Fayetteville AR business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Fayetteville AR colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fayetteville AR colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fayetteville home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Fayetteville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Fayetteville ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville Arkansas.