Home >> Arkansas >> Pine Bluff >> Interior Design Schools Online


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Pine Bluff AR

How to Select the Right Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Pine Bluff AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered 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 first, 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 Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Pine Bluff AR

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Pine Bluff AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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 integrating Feng shui concepts, Pine Bluff Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Pine Bluff AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 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 several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Schools

Pine Bluff AR student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Pine Bluff AR homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Pine Bluff AR home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Pine Bluff Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Pine Bluff AR school you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask 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 graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Pine Bluff AR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Pine Bluff AR schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Pine Bluff AR colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Pine Bluff home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Pine Bluff ArkansasSelecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pine Bluff Arkansas.