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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fayetteville AR

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College

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 selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Fayetteville AR

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

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Fayetteville AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Designer Online Classes

Fayetteville AR student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their Fayetteville AR homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, 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 prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fayetteville Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Fayetteville AR school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Fayetteville AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Fayetteville AR schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fayetteville AR programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fayetteville home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Fayetteville Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Fayetteville ArkansasPicking the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville Arkansas.