How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Chena Ridge Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Chena Ridge 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 important that you get the right 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 examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Chena Ridge AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Chena Ridge AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Chena Ridge AK. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take 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 descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Chena Ridge AK homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. 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 ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Chena Ridge AK residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining 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 schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Chena Ridge AK school you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Chena Ridge AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Chena Ridge AK colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chena Ridge AK schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chena Ridge home, visit the school and attend 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chena Ridge AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Chena Ridge Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chena Ridge Alaska.