Home >> Arkansas >> Hot Springs >> Interior Design Degrees Online


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs AR

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Hot Springs 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 spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover 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 training choices are available.

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

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Hot Springs AR

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill 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 and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Hot Springs AR may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Hot Springs Arkansas interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Hot Springs AR. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as 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 sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

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.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Hot Springs AR home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish 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 accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Hot Springs Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Hot Springs AR school you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Hot Springs AR business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Hot Springs AR colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hot Springs AR colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hot Springs home, visit the campus and sit in on 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 experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hot Springs AR, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Hot Springs Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Hot Springs ArkansasPicking the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest 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 ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs Arkansas.