Interior Designer School
How to Select the Right One Near College Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near College AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's essential you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are various other qualifications that you should weigh when reviewing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 training choices are offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in College AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, College AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in College AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be 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 a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order 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 professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their College AK homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some 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 lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your College AK residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from 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 evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many College AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the College AK program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance 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 students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of College AK business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the College AK schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the College AK schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your College home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near College AK, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right College Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in College Alaska.