Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Best One Near Anchorage Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Anchorage AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just how do you approach finding the right program? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Anchorage AK. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required 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 provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five 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, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Anchorage AK homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Anchorage AK home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Anchorage AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Anchorage AK school you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Anchorage AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Anchorage AK colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Anchorage AK programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Anchorage home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anchorage AK, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Anchorage Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anchorage Alaska.