How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Program near Chena Ridge Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Chena Ridge AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces 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 Chena Ridge 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 particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Chena Ridge AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Chena Ridge AK. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve 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 differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Chena Ridge AK homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option 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 home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools 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 traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Chena Ridge AK home. Naturally 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 fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few 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 assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Chena Ridge AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Chena Ridge AK school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Chena Ridge AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Chena Ridge AK schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chena Ridge AK colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chena Ridge home, go to the campus and monitor 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chena Ridge AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Chena Ridge Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chena Ridge Alaska.