Interior Designer School
How to Find the Right One Near Fairbanks Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Fairbanks AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Fairbanks AK. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Fairbanks AK homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Fairbanks AK residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure 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 industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fairbanks AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Fairbanks AK school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements 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 want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Fairbanks AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Fairbanks AK schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fairbanks AK schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fairbanks home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fairbanks Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairbanks Alaska.