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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Pine Bluff AR

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Pine Bluff AR, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities 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 examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Pine Bluff AR

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work 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 Pine Bluff AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially 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 Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Pine Bluff Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Pine Bluff AR. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed 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 furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Pine Bluff AR student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Pine Bluff AR residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may 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 hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Pine Bluff AR college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Pine Bluff AR business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Pine Bluff AR schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring 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 ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Pine Bluff AR colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Pine Bluff home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, verify 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 procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Pine Bluff Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Pine Bluff ArkansasPicking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pine Bluff Arkansas.