Home >> Arkansas >> Little Rock >> Interior Design Schools


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Little Rock AR

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Little Rock AR, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are offered.

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

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Little Rock AR

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work 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 requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate 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 typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Little Rock Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Little Rock AR. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs 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 usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Schools

Little Rock AR student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Little Rock AR homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Little Rock AR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Little Rock Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Little Rock AR college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. 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 high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Little Rock AR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Little Rock AR schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Little Rock AR programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Little Rock home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Little Rock AR, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Little Rock Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Little Rock ArkansasPicking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools 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 Little Rock Arkansas.