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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Pine Bluff AR

How to Pick the Best Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Pine Bluff AR, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Pine Bluff AR

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between them is the amount 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, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions 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 Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate 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 banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must 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 principles, Pine Bluff Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Pine Bluff AR. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve 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 university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Pine Bluff AR home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Pine Bluff Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Pine Bluff AR school you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Pine Bluff AR business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Pine Bluff AR schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Pine Bluff AR programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Pine Bluff home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Pine Bluff Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Pine Bluff ArkansasPicking the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right 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.