Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Best One Near College Alaska
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near College AK once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are considering before you make your ultimate decision it's vital that you perform the proper due diligence. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are several other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance 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 before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in College AK. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components 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 a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their College AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your College AK home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many College AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the College AK school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of College AK business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the College AK schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the College AK programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your College home, go to 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near College AK, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best College Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided 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 drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in College Alaska.