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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Jonesboro AR

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Jonesboro AR, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Jonesboro AR

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Jonesboro AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Jonesboro AR. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Jonesboro Arkansas interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Jonesboro AR residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Jonesboro Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Jonesboro AR school you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Jonesboro AR business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Jonesboro AR schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Jonesboro AR programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Jonesboro home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Jonesboro Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Jonesboro ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jonesboro Arkansas.