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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Springdale AR

How to Find the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Springdale AR, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Springdale AR

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Springdale AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Springdale Arkansas interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Springdale AR. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Arkansas trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain 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 offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Springdale AR student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Springdale AR home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Springdale Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Springdale AR school you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Springdale AR business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

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

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Springdale AR programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Springdale home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Springdale AR, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Springdale Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Springdale ArkansasSelecting the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Springdale Arkansas.