Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Eagle River Alaska
So it’s time to start the process of picking an interior design school near Eagle River AK now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to assess and compare each college you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision it's essential that you perform the appropriate research. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right program? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Eagle River AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Eagle River AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Eagle River AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want 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.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Eagle River AK homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Eagle River AK residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Eagle River AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Eagle River AK program you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Eagle River AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Eagle River AK colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Eagle River AK schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Eagle River home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening 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 alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Eagle River Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eagle River Alaska.