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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Jonesboro AR

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Jonesboro AR, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Jonesboro AR

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. 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 educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Jonesboro AR may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Jonesboro AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt 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 field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Jonesboro Arkansas interior designer bathroomNow that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Jonesboro AR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college 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 exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Jonesboro Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Jonesboro AR program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Jonesboro AR business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Jonesboro AR schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Jonesboro AR colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Jonesboro home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Jonesboro Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Jonesboro ArkansasSelecting the right interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jonesboro Arkansas.