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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs National Park AR

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Hot Springs National Park 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 spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Hot Springs National Park AR

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Hot Springs National Park AR can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must 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 variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Hot Springs National Park AR. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

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

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Hot Springs National Park Arkansas interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Hot Springs National Park AR home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Hot Springs National Park Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Hot Springs National Park AR school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Hot Springs National Park AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

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

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hot Springs National Park AR schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hot Springs National Park home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, verify 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, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Hot Springs National Park ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs National Park Arkansas.