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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Texarkana AR

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Texarkana AR, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Texarkana AR

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Texarkana AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. 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 concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Texarkana Arkansas interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Texarkana AR. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually 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 colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Texarkana 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 Colleges

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Texarkana AR residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below 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 assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Texarkana Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Texarkana AR college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Texarkana AR business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Texarkana AR schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Texarkana AR colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Texarkana home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Texarkana AR, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Texarkana Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Texarkana ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Texarkana Arkansas.