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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Pine Bluff AR

How to Select the Right Interior Designer College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Pine Bluff AR, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive 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 preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Pine Bluff AR

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Pine Bluff AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may 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 lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking 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 final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Pine Bluff AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree 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", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why 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 Colleges

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Pine Bluff AR residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Pine Bluff Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Pine Bluff AR college you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Pine Bluff AR business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Pine Bluff AR colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Pine Bluff AR schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Pine Bluff home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to 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 enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Pine Bluff Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Pine Bluff ArkansasPicking the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pine Bluff Arkansas.