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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Texarkana AR

How to Find the Best Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Texarkana AR, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Texarkana AR

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary 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 skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Texarkana AR may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Texarkana AR. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Texarkana Arkansas interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Texarkana AR residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school 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 schools. Also, many Texarkana Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Texarkana AR program you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college 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? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Texarkana AR schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Texarkana AR schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Texarkana home, visit the campus and monitor 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Texarkana AR, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Texarkana Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Texarkana ArkansasChoosing the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Texarkana Arkansas.