Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Right One Near Juneau Alaska
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Juneau AK once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's crucial you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are many other qualifications that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will cover 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 more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Juneau AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Juneau AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Juneau AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Juneau AK homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools 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 minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once 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 factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Juneau AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Juneau AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Juneau AK program you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Juneau AK business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Juneau AK colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal 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 Juneau AK schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Juneau home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Juneau Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.