Interior Designer School
How to Pick the Right One Near College Alaska
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near College AK now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's essential you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? When looking for interior design schools, many potential students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of other considerations that you should weigh when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will address those topics and other important 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 alternatives are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in College AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, College AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in College AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized 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 degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their College AK homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your College AK home. Of course 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 cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of College AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the College AK school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of College AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the College AK colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the College AK colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your College home, visit the school 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near College AK, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More About Becoming an Interior Designer in College
Enroll in the Best College Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in College Alaska.
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