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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near North Little Rock AR

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near North Little Rock AR, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial 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 available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in North Little Rock AR

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work 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 a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in North Little Rock AR may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, 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 including Feng shui concepts, North Little Rock Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in North Little Rock AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Online Interior Design Colleges

North Little Rock AR student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the convenience of their North Little Rock AR homes, there are online accredited 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 laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your North Little Rock AR home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid 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 colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the North Little Rock AR college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of North Little Rock AR business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the North Little Rock AR colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases 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? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the North Little Rock AR schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your North Little Rock home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

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

interior designed kitchen in North Little Rock ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in North Little Rock Arkansas.