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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Jonesboro AR

How to Find the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Jonesboro 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 imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Jonesboro AR

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Jonesboro AR may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Jonesboro AR. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required 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 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Jonesboro AR student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the convenience of their Jonesboro AR homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Jonesboro AR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Jonesboro Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Jonesboro AR program you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. 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 higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Jonesboro AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Jonesboro AR schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Jonesboro AR schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Jonesboro home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Jonesboro Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Jonesboro ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jonesboro Arkansas.