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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near North Little Rock AR

How to Select the Right Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer 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 residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in North Little Rock AR

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in North Little Rock AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, North Little Rock Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in North Little Rock AR. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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. Doctoral programs 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 generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

North Little Rock Arkansas interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your North 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 qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many North Little Rock Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the North Little Rock AR program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of North Little Rock AR business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the North Little Rock AR colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the North Little Rock AR colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your North Little Rock home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near North Little Rock Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in North Little Rock ArkansasPicking the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations 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 superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in North Little Rock Arkansas.