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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Little Rock AR

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Little Rock AR, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, 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 Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Little Rock AR

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Little Rock AR may 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may 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, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Little Rock Arkansas interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Little Rock AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical 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 design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university 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", 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 examination.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Little Rock 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 Designer Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Little Rock AR residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation 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 in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Little Rock Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Little Rock AR college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Little Rock AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Little Rock AR colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Little Rock AR programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Little Rock home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Little Rock AR, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Little Rock Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Little Rock ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Little Rock Arkansas.