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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Jonesboro AR

How to Select the Right Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Jonesboro AR, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Jonesboro AR

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Jonesboro AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. 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 dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking 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 Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Jonesboro AR. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of 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 take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Jonesboro Arkansas interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Jonesboro AR residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Jonesboro Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Jonesboro AR program you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Jonesboro AR business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Jonesboro AR schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Jonesboro AR programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Jonesboro home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Jonesboro Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Jonesboro ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jonesboro Arkansas.