Interior Designer Program
How to Select the Right One Near College Alaska
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near College AK once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are a number of other qualifications that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in College AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, College AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in College AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position 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 offer options in specialized majors for such things 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 largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their College AK homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your College AK home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many College AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the College AK school you select 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 working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer 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, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of College AK business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the College AK schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the College AK schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your College home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near College AK, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right College Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in College Alaska.