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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Texarkana AR

How to Select the Right Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Texarkana AR, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Texarkana AR

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Texarkana AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily 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 emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Texarkana Arkansas interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Texarkana AR. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Colleges

Texarkana AR student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the convenience of their Texarkana AR homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Texarkana AR home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared 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 most affordable 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 program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Texarkana Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as 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 in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Texarkana AR school 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 received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Texarkana AR business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Texarkana AR colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Texarkana AR programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Texarkana home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Texarkana AR, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Texarkana Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Texarkana ArkansasSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Texarkana Arkansas.