Home >> Arkansas >> Little Rock >> Interior Design Programs


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Little Rock AR

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Little Rock AR, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Little Rock AR

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Little Rock AR may 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Little Rock Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Little Rock AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous 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 furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily 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 as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Little Rock AR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 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 available 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 previously mentioned, some States do require 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Little Rock AR program you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Little Rock AR business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Little Rock AR schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Little Rock AR programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Little Rock home, go to the school 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. 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 attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Little Rock Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Little Rock ArkansasChoosing the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Little Rock Arkansas.