Home >> Arkansas >> Pine Bluff >> Interior Design Courses


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Pine Bluff AR

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Pine Bluff AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Pine Bluff AR

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate 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 essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. 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 utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Pine Bluff AR. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Pine Bluff Arkansas interior designer bathroomNow that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Pine Bluff AR home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining 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 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 securing financial assistance 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 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Pine Bluff AR program you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Pine Bluff AR business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Pine Bluff AR schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Pine Bluff AR colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Pine Bluff home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night 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, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Pine Bluff Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Pine Bluff ArkansasPicking the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pine Bluff Arkansas.