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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Pine Bluff AR

How to Find the Best Interior Designer School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Pine Bluff AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking 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 class options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Pine Bluff AR

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Pine Bluff AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Pine Bluff Arkansas interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Pine Bluff AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed 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 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely 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 three to five years.

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

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Pine Bluff AR student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Pine Bluff AR homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. 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 perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Pine Bluff AR home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Pine Bluff Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Pine Bluff AR college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask 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 trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Pine Bluff AR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Pine Bluff AR colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Pine Bluff AR colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Pine Bluff home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Pine Bluff ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pine Bluff Arkansas.