Home >> Arkansas >> Hot Springs National Park >> Interior Design Courses


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs National Park AR

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Hot Springs National Park AR, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But 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 costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 options are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Hot Springs National Park AR

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Hot Springs National Park AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Hot Springs National Park Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Hot Springs National Park AR. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Hot Springs National Park Arkansas interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Hot Springs National Park AR home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hot Springs National Park Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Hot Springs National Park AR school you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Hot Springs National Park AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Hot Springs National Park AR colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hot Springs National Park AR schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hot Springs National Park home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Hot Springs National Park ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs National Park Arkansas.