Interior Designer Program
How to Select the Best One Near Knik Fairview Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Knik Fairview AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key 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 spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Knik Fairview 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 particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Knik Fairview AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Knik Fairview AK. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Knik Fairview AK homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Knik Fairview AK residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school 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 as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Knik Fairview AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Knik Fairview AK school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Knik Fairview AK business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Knik Fairview AK schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide 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 little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Knik Fairview AK colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Knik Fairview home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Knik Fairview AK, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Knik Fairview Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance 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 appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Knik Fairview Alaska.