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How to Pick the Best Interior Design Degree Program near College Alaska

College Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near College 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 spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in College AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, College AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in College AK. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade 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 provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral 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 normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their College AK homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working 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 convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges 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 study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your College AK home. 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 fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many College AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the College AK college you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of College AK business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the College AK schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the College AK schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your College home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will 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, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Courses

Enroll in the Right College Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in College Alaska.