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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Jonesboro AR

How to Find the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Jonesboro AR, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will begin 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 decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Jonesboro AR

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Jonesboro AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public 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 looks as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Jonesboro Arkansas interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Jonesboro AR. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Jonesboro 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Jonesboro AR home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded 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 instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Jonesboro Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Jonesboro AR college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Jonesboro AR business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Jonesboro AR schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Jonesboro AR schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Jonesboro home, go to the college and attend 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Jonesboro Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Jonesboro ArkansasSelecting the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jonesboro Arkansas.