Home >> Arkansas >> Texarkana >> Interior Design Programs


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Texarkana AR

How to Select the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college 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 some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 options are available.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Texarkana AR

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

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Texarkana Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Texarkana AR. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select 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 brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects 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 provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use 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 needed before a candidate can take 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Texarkana AR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, 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 obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Texarkana Arkansas employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Texarkana AR program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Texarkana AR business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Texarkana AR colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Texarkana AR schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Texarkana home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. 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 attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Texarkana Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Texarkana ArkansasPicking the right interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Texarkana Arkansas.