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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fayetteville AR

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fayetteville AR, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills 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 examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 available.

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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 difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Fayetteville AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are many 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 produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Fayetteville Arkansas interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Fayetteville AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components 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 provide advanced design training after achieving the 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Fayetteville AR home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fayetteville Arkansas employers will only employ 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Fayetteville AR college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Fayetteville AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Fayetteville AR schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller 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 reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fayetteville home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important 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 sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Fayetteville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Fayetteville ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville Arkansas.