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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs National Park AR

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Hot Springs National Park AR, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate 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 preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Hot Springs National Park AR

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

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Hot Springs National Park Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Hot Springs National Park AR. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Hot Springs National Park AR residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately 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 choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for 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 jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Hot Springs National Park AR college you enroll in should also provide the suitable 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Hot Springs National Park AR business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hot Springs National Park AR colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller 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 programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student 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 speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Hot Springs National Park ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs National Park Arkansas.