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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fayetteville AR

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 important that you obtain the proper 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 may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Fayetteville AR

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Fayetteville AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, 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 main consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Fayetteville AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Fayetteville Arkansas interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Fayetteville AR home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fayetteville Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Fayetteville AR college you select should also provide the suitable instruction 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Fayetteville AR business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

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

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fayetteville AR colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fayetteville home, visit 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Fayetteville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Fayetteville ArkansasPicking the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several 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 regarded in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville Arkansas.