How to Become an Interior Designer in Arkansas
Interior designers improve architectural spaces aesthetically and functionally. They consider elements like colors, textures, lighting and space. They might work in both private and public venues. As an interior designer, you must be able to design spaces so that they reflect their intended purpose. Interior designers use a combination of creativity and technical skills to perform their jobs. Therefore, most all interior designers have formal training in interior design. Interior designers will often have to draw and interpret sketched or digital blueprints. They will often work alongside architects, builders, engineers, furniture designers and plumbers.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Arkansas
The requirements for working as an interior designer will differ by state, as this profession is not regulated nationally. A degree in interior design is preferred by most employers no matter the state, because of the technical aspects of this job.
Arkansas does not require certification or licensure from someone wanting to work in interior design; however, you do have the option to register as an interior designer within the state and then use the title “registered interior designer. This registration is available through the Arkansas State Board of Architects, Land Architects and Interior Designers (ASBALAID).
Interior Design Schools in Arkansas
To become nationally certified and register as an interior designer in the state of Arkansas, you must complete an interior design degree program that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Arkansas has a couple of colleges that offer accredited programs.
- Harding University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in interior design. This program is typically completed in four years. Students of the program regularly receive awards in commercial, residential and health care design. Sixty percent of students who graduated from this program in 2016 found a job in interior design by January of 2017.
- University of Arkansas in Fayetteville offers a Bachelor of Interior Design degree program that takes four years to complete. It is offered at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design on the University of Arkansas campus. As a part of their coursework, third- and fourth-year design students design a website that is viewed by design directors at some of the top architecture and interior design firms across the United States.
National Certification and Registration for Interior Designers in Arkansas
To register as an interior designer in the state of Arkansas, you must hold a degree in interior design that is accredited by the CIDA and pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. The application fee for registration is $250. Renewal is done annually by paying $100 and taking six continuing education credits.
The NCIDQ exam is regulated by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). To apply to take the exam, you must complete one of the following education and work combinations:
- CIDA-accredited interior design degree (four-year) and two years full-time work experience
- Non-accredited interior design degree and two years full-time work experience
- Any other degree plus an interior design degree and two years full-time work experience
- Interior design associate degree (60 semester hours) and three years full-time work experience
- Interior design associate degree (40 semester hours) and four years full-time work experience
- Accredited architecture degree and three years full-time work experience
Three sections make up the NCIDQ exam: the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) and the Practicum (PRAC) exam. You must pay $225 to apply to take all three parts of the exam. Once you have applied and receive permission to take the exam, you will have a 10-exam window in which you must complete all three sections. Registration fees are: $295 for the IDFX exam, $350 for the IDPX exam and $455 for the PRAC exam. A $150 cancellation fee will apply if you cancel an exam. You will receive your certification when you have passed all three parts. A fee of $75 and proof of 10 continued education credits are needed to renew your certification annually.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), 270 interior designers were working in the state of Arkansas in 2016. It is predicted that there will be 280 interior designers employed in the state by the year 2026, which will be a 5.6 percent increase.
In 2017, interior designers within the state were making an average of $29.06 hourly and $60,450 annually. Other factors that will influence salary include education, work experience and where you live within the state.
Working as an Interior Designer in Arkansas
As an interior designer, you may work in commercial design, exhibition design, healthcare design, hospitality design, residential design or universal design. You could work in remodeling, construction, on model homes, office or health care spaces, with architectural design firms, interior design firms or furniture stores. You could also work independently. In Arkansas, you may find the most work in some of the larger cities like Fayetteville, Jonesboro or Little Rock.