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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fayetteville AR

How to Find the Right Interior Design 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 gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Fayetteville AR

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Fayetteville AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of 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 main consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to 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 utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Fayetteville AR. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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 mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five 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 some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Fayetteville Arkansas interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Fayetteville AR residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may 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 hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Fayetteville AR school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Fayetteville AR business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Fayetteville AR colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fayetteville AR schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fayetteville home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Fayetteville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Fayetteville ArkansasSelecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance 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 right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville Arkansas.