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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Sherwood AR

How to Select the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Sherwood 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 get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become 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 proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Sherwood AR

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Sherwood AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Sherwood Arkansas interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Sherwood AR. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ 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 require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Sherwood AR student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Sherwood AR homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Sherwood AR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers 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 exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sherwood Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Sherwood AR program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Sherwood AR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Sherwood AR schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Sherwood AR programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sherwood home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sherwood AR, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Sherwood Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Sherwood ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sherwood Arkansas.