How to Select the Best Interior Design School near Bethel Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Bethel AK, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Bethel AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed 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, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Bethel AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch 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 invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly 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.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Bethel AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Bethel AK residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bethel AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Bethel AK school you select should also provide the suitable education 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 earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Bethel AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Bethel AK schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bethel AK programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bethel home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bethel AK, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Bethel Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest 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 appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bethel Alaska.