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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs AR

How to Find the Best Interior Designer School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Hot Springs AR, it's time to begin 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 obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Hot Springs AR

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Hot Springs 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Hot Springs Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Hot Springs AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some 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. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Become 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Hot Springs AR residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hot Springs Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Hot Springs AR program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Hot Springs AR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Hot Springs AR schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hot Springs AR colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hot Springs home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hot Springs AR, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify 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 Best Interior Designer College near Hot Springs Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Hot Springs ArkansasPicking the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs Arkansas.