Home >> Arkansas >> Hot Springs >> Interior Design Schools


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hot Springs AR

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Hot Springs AR, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Hot Springs AR

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working 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 trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Hot Springs AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Hot Springs Arkansas interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Hot Springs AR. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish 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 require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Hot Springs AR student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the comfort of their Hot Springs AR homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Hot Springs AR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting 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 employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Hot Springs AR college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Hot Springs AR business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Hot Springs AR colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Hot Springs AR schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hot Springs home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend 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, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Hot Springs Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Hot Springs ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hot Springs Arkansas.