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How to Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Badger Alaska

Badger Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Badger AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Badger AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Badger AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Badger AK. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief 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 approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Badger AK homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Badger AK home. 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 cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Badger AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Badger AK program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Badger AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Badger AK colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Badger AK colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Badger home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Badger AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Right Badger Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Badger Alaska.