Interior Designer Degree
How to Select the Best One Near Eagle River Alaska
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Eagle River AK now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just how do you go about finding the right school? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are many other qualifications that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Eagle River AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver 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 lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Eagle River AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Eagle River AK home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Eagle River AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Eagle River AK college you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Eagle River AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Eagle River AK schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Eagle River AK schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Eagle River home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Eagle River AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Eagle River Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eagle River Alaska.