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How to Find the Best Interior Design School near Chena Ridge Alaska

Chena Ridge Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Chena Ridge AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, 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, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 training alternatives are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training 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, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Chena Ridge AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing 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 Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Chena Ridge AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 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 comfort of their Chena Ridge AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Chena Ridge AK residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Chena Ridge AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Chena Ridge AK program you enroll in should also provide the suitable 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Chena Ridge AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Chena Ridge AK colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate 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 reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Chena Ridge home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially 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, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Best Chena Ridge Interior Design College

Picking the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chena Ridge Alaska.