Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Fairbanks Alaska
So it’s time to start the process of picking an interior design school near Fairbanks AK now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 about the degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Fairbanks AK. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain 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 deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Fairbanks AK homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance 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 perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Fairbanks AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fairbanks AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Fairbanks AK school you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Fairbanks AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Fairbanks AK schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fairbanks AK colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fairbanks home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Fairbanks Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college 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 chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairbanks Alaska.