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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs AR

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Hot Springs AR, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Hot Springs AR

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Hot Springs AR can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Hot Springs Arkansas interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Hot Springs AR. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees 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.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Hot Springs AR home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hot Springs Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Hot Springs AR school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Hot Springs AR business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Hot Springs AR colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hot Springs AR colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Hot Springs home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hot Springs AR, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol 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 ArkansasSelecting the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you perform 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 superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs Arkansas.