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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near North Little Rock AR

How to Select the Right Interior Design Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near North Little Rock AR, it's time to start 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 talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial 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 training options are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in North Little Rock AR

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between them is the amount 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. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in North Little Rock AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, North Little Rock Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in North Little Rock AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Classes

North Little Rock AR student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their North Little Rock AR homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your North Little Rock AR home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many North Little Rock Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the North Little Rock AR school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of North Little Rock AR business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the North Little Rock AR schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the North Little Rock AR schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your North Little Rock home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in 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 North Little Rock AR, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near North Little Rock Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in North Little Rock ArkansasPicking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in North Little Rock Arkansas.