Interior Designer Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Juneau Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Juneau AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to assess and compare each program you are looking at prior to making your final decision it's essential that you do the proper due diligence. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best 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 evaluate when analyzing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Juneau AK. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to study in the comfort of their Juneau AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Juneau AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Juneau AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Juneau AK school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction 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 received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Juneau AK business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Juneau AK schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Juneau AK schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Juneau home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Juneau Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.