Interior Designer College
How to Select the Best One Near Juneau Alaska
So it’s time to start the task of choosing an interior design school near Juneau AK now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are considering before you make your final choice it's essential that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you undertake finding the right program? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the best choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Juneau AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Juneau AK homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative 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 expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, 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 move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance 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 positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Juneau AK college you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Juneau AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Juneau AK schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
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 minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Juneau AK programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Juneau home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Juneau AK, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Juneau
Enroll in the Best Juneau Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.
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