Interior Designer School
How to Pick the Best One Near Juneau Alaska
So it’s time to begin the process of selecting an interior design school near Juneau AK once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are considering prior to making your final selection it's very important that you carry out the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are several other qualifications that you should evaluate when comparing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Juneau AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Juneau AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Juneau AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required 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 attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt 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 required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Juneau AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. 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 option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Juneau AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Juneau AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 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 college you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design 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 yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Juneau AK business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Juneau AK schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Juneau AK colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Juneau home, go to the college and monitor 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 approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Juneau 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, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Juneau Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.