Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Best One Near Eagle River Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Eagle River AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just how do you approach finding the right program? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. However, 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 various other considerations that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Eagle River AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Eagle River AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Eagle River AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire 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 colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Eagle River AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. 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 difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in 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 education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Eagle River AK residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Eagle River AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Eagle River AK school you enroll in should also provide the suitable 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. 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 high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Eagle River AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Eagle River AK colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Eagle River AK programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Eagle River home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Eagle River AK, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Eagle River Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. 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 effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eagle River Alaska.