Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Right One Near Anchorage Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Anchorage AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Anchorage AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Anchorage AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Anchorage AK home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Anchorage AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Anchorage AK program you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Anchorage AK business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Anchorage AK colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Anchorage AK programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Anchorage home, go to the college and monitor a couple of 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Anchorage Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anchorage Alaska.