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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs AR

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Hot Springs AR, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Hot Springs AR

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Hot Springs AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have 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 contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Hot Springs AR. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Hot Springs Arkansas interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Hot Springs AR home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hot Springs Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Hot Springs AR program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support 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 higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Hot Springs AR business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hot Springs AR schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hot Springs AR colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hot Springs home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hot Springs AR, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Hot Springs Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Hot Springs ArkansasPicking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs Arkansas.