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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Springdale AR

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Springdale AR, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Springdale AR

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Springdale AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Springdale AR. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

Springdale AR student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Springdale AR homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Springdale AR home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry 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 instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Springdale Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Springdale AR college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements 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 need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out 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 field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Springdale AR business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Springdale AR colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Springdale AR schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Springdale home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Springdale AR, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Springdale Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Springdale ArkansasSelecting the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Springdale Arkansas.