Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Fairbanks Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Fairbanks AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial 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 choices are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Fairbanks AK. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components 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 acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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 degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Fairbanks AK homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Fairbanks AK home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fairbanks AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Fairbanks AK school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Fairbanks AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Fairbanks AK schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? 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 Fairbanks AK colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fairbanks home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Fairbanks Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively 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 reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairbanks Alaska.