How to Select the Best Interior Designer College near Chena Ridge Alaska
Once you have made a decision 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 talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 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 basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Chena Ridge AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Chena Ridge AK. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized 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 mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use 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 professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Chena Ridge AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Chena Ridge AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for 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 colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Chena Ridge AK program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing 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 position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Chena Ridge AK business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Chena Ridge AK schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chena Ridge AK colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Chena Ridge home, go to the school 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chena Ridge AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Chena Ridge Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chena Ridge Alaska.