Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Best One Near Fairbanks Alaska
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting 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 appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right school? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Fairbanks AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree 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", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Courses
For students who to study in the comfort of their Fairbanks AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges 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 as well. 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 programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication 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.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Fairbanks AK residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for 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 colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Fairbanks AK school you select should also furnish 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? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Fairbanks AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Fairbanks AK schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fairbanks AK programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fairbanks home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Fairbanks Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairbanks Alaska.