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How to Find the Best Interior Design College near College Alaska

College Alaska interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near College 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 obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address 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 class alternatives are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in College AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, College AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in College AK. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically 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 degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the convenience of their College AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your College AK residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, 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 choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of College AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the College AK program you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of College AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the College AK schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the College AK colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your College home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near College AK, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Programs

Choose in the Best College Interior Design Program

Picking the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in College Alaska.