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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Springdale AR

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Springdale AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics 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 options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Springdale AR

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Springdale AR may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Springdale AR. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose 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 covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order 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 some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for 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 Designer Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Springdale AR residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Springdale Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Springdale AR college you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Springdale AR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Springdale AR schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from 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 sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active 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 Springdale AR, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Springdale Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Springdale ArkansasChoosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Springdale Arkansas.