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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fayetteville AR

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Fayetteville AR, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will cover 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Fayetteville AR

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fayetteville AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Fayetteville Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Fayetteville AR. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter 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) examination required in several 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 supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

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.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Fayetteville AR home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fayetteville Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Fayetteville AR school you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement 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 might also signify that the school has a significant network of Fayetteville AR business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Fayetteville AR schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fayetteville AR schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fayetteville home, go to the school and monitor 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Fayetteville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Fayetteville ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville Arkansas.