Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Best One Near Eagle River Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Eagle River AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Eagle River AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business 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 furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary 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 schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Eagle River AK homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical 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 lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Eagle River AK home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Eagle River AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Eagle River AK program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Eagle River AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Eagle River AK schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Eagle River AK colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Eagle River home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some 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, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Eagle River AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Eagle River Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eagle River Alaska.