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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fayetteville AR

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several 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 crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 training choices are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Fayetteville AR

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two 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 area 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 dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Fayetteville Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Fayetteville AR. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select 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. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized 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 degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Fayetteville AR residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fayetteville Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Fayetteville AR college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Fayetteville AR business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Fayetteville AR schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fayetteville AR programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fayetteville home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there 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, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending 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, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Fayetteville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Fayetteville ArkansasChoosing the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville Arkansas.