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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Jonesboro AR

How to Find the Right Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Jonesboro AR, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Jonesboro AR

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Jonesboro AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Jonesboro Arkansas interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Jonesboro AR. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Jonesboro AR student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Jonesboro AR homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Jonesboro AR residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Jonesboro Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Jonesboro AR school you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Jonesboro AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Jonesboro AR colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Jonesboro AR programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Jonesboro home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Jonesboro Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Jonesboro ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jonesboro Arkansas.