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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs National Park AR

How to Select the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Hot Springs National Park AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Hot Springs National Park AR

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Hot Springs National Park AR may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Hot Springs National Park Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Hot Springs National Park AR. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted 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 needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish 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. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Hot Springs National Park 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Hot Springs National Park AR home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hot Springs National Park Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Hot Springs National Park AR program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Hot Springs National Park AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Hot Springs National Park AR schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big 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 Hot Springs National Park AR programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hot Springs National Park home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Hot Springs National Park ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs National Park Arkansas.