How to Find the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Chena Ridge Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Chena Ridge AK, it's time to start the process of choosing 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 a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many 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 frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example 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 incorporating Feng shui principles, Chena Ridge AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Chena Ridge AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Chena Ridge AK homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Chena Ridge AK residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chena Ridge AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Chena Ridge AK program you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Chena Ridge AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Chena Ridge AK colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chena Ridge AK colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chena Ridge home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chena Ridge AK, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Chena Ridge Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly 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.