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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near North Little Rock AR

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near North 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 interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential 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 key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in North Little Rock AR

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in North Little Rock AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly 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 hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in North Little Rock AR. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions 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 creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally 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 degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

North Little Rock Arkansas interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your North Little Rock AR residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many North Little Rock Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the North Little Rock AR program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of North Little Rock AR business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the North Little Rock AR schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the North Little Rock AR programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your North Little Rock home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic 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 North Little Rock AR, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near North Little Rock Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in North Little Rock ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in North Little Rock Arkansas.