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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Pine Bluff AR

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Pine Bluff AR, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered 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 first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Pine Bluff AR

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone 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, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories 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 essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance 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. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Pine Bluff Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Pine Bluff AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt 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 needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Schools

Pine Bluff AR student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Pine Bluff AR homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Pine Bluff AR home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Pine Bluff Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Pine Bluff AR school you select should also furnish the suitable instruction 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? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign 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 indicate that the college has a significant network of Pine Bluff AR business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Pine Bluff AR colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Pine Bluff AR colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Pine Bluff home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program 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 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, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Pine Bluff ArkansasSelecting the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pine Bluff Arkansas.