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How to Pick the Right Interior Design College near Bethel Alaska

Bethel Alaska interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Bethel AK, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous 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 occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Bethel AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Bethel AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Bethel AK homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Bethel AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bethel AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Bethel AK program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Bethel AK business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Bethel AK schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining 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 offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bethel AK schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bethel home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bethel AK, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Right Bethel Interior Design Program

Selecting the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bethel Alaska.