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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Rogers AR

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Rogers AR, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Rogers AR

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill 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 educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Rogers AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Rogers Arkansas interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Rogers AR. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Rogers Arkansas interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Rogers AR residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Rogers Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Rogers AR program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Rogers AR business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Rogers AR schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large 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. Find out from the Rogers AR programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Rogers home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Rogers AR, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Rogers Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Rogers ArkansasPicking the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rogers Arkansas.