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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Texarkana AR

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Texarkana AR, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Texarkana AR

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Texarkana AR can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Texarkana AR. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things 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 differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Texarkana Arkansas interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Texarkana AR home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Texarkana Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Texarkana AR college you enroll in should also provide the proper 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Texarkana AR business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Texarkana AR colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Texarkana AR programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Texarkana home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Texarkana AR, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Texarkana Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Texarkana ArkansasSelecting the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Texarkana Arkansas.