How to Choose the Best Interior Design College near Chena Ridge Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Chena Ridge AK, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Chena Ridge AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Chena Ridge AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Chena Ridge AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take 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 offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree 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, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Chena Ridge AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Chena Ridge AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chena Ridge AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Chena Ridge AK program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Chena Ridge AK business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Chena Ridge AK colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Chena Ridge AK programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chena Ridge home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Chena Ridge AK, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Chena Ridge Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important 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 schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chena Ridge Alaska.