Interior Designer Course
How to Select the Right One Near Juneau Alaska
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Juneau AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just how do you approach finding the right school? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Juneau AK. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several 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 furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Juneau AK homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Juneau AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Juneau AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Juneau AK school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Juneau AK business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Juneau AK colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Juneau AK schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Juneau home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Juneau AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Juneau Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.