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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Springdale AR

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Springdale AR, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform 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 begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Springdale AR

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Springdale AR may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. 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 including Feng shui principles, Springdale Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Springdale AR. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions 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 technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Springdale Arkansas interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Springdale AR home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Springdale Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

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

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Springdale AR business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Springdale AR colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Springdale AR schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Springdale home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Springdale AR, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Springdale Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Springdale ArkansasChoosing the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Springdale Arkansas.