How to Select the Best Interior Design Program near Bethel Alaska
Now that 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 residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Bethel AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Bethel AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Bethel AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short 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 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for 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 cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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 degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Bethel 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 going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Bethel AK home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bethel AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Bethel AK school you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Bethel AK business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bethel AK schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program 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 intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bethel AK programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bethel home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bethel AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Bethel Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges 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.