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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs AR

How to Find the Right Interior Design Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Hot Springs 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 essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Hot Springs AR

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Hot Springs AR may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Hot Springs Arkansas interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Hot Springs AR. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt 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) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally 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 components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Hot Springs 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 Programs

Once you have decided on the interior design 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 has to be within driving distance from your Hot Springs AR home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, 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 Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Hot Springs AR program you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering 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 school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Hot Springs AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Hot Springs AR colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Hot Springs AR programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hot Springs home, visit the college 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hot Springs AR, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Hot Springs Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Hot Springs ArkansasSelecting the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs Arkansas.