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


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs National Park AR

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided 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 important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 class choices are offered.

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

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Hot Springs National Park AR

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Hot Springs National Park AR can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. 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 range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Hot Springs National Park AR. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components 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 provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly 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 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally 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 called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Hot Springs National Park Arkansas interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus 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 qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hot Springs National Park Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Hot Springs National Park AR school you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. 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 high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Hot Springs National Park AR business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hot Springs National Park AR schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hot Springs National Park AR schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hot Springs National Park home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

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

interior designed kitchen in Hot Springs National Park ArkansasSelecting the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs National Park Arkansas.