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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Pine Bluff AR

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Pine Bluff AR, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Pine Bluff AR

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two 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 spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Pine Bluff AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, 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 frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating 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 four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Pine Bluff AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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 mainly 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 require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Pine Bluff Arkansas interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Pine Bluff AR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of 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 select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Pine Bluff Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational 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 exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Pine Bluff AR business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Pine Bluff AR colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? 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. Ask the Pine Bluff AR colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Pine Bluff home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Pine Bluff ArkansasPicking the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pine Bluff Arkansas.