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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Texarkana AR

How to Choose the Right Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Texarkana AR, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Texarkana AR

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business 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 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 residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Texarkana AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Texarkana Arkansas interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Texarkana AR. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide 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 lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally 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 some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Classes

Texarkana AR student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their Texarkana AR homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Texarkana AR home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Texarkana Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Texarkana AR program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Texarkana AR business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Texarkana AR schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Texarkana AR schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Texarkana home, go to the campus and attend 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Texarkana AR, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Texarkana Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Texarkana ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Texarkana Arkansas.