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How to Pick the Best Interior Designer College near Bethel Alaska

Bethel Alaska interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Bethel AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital 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 choices are available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business 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 taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Bethel AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus 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, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Bethel AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Bethel AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Bethel AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Bethel AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance 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 jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Bethel AK school you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Bethel AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Bethel AK colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bethel AK schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Bethel home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bethel AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Bethel Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Best Bethel Interior Design School

Choosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bethel Alaska.