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


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near North Little Rock AR

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near North Little Rock AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in North Little Rock AR

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

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, North Little Rock Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in North Little Rock AR. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed 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 level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance 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 programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional 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 required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

North Little Rock AR student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their North Little Rock AR homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your North Little Rock AR home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of North Little Rock Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the North Little Rock AR college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of North Little Rock AR business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the North Little Rock AR colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited 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, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly 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, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near North Little Rock Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in North Little Rock ArkansasSelecting the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop 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 a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in North Little Rock Arkansas.