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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near College Alaska

College Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near College 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 obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working 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 trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in College AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, College AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in College AK. Your selection 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 no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their College AK homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses 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 colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your College AK home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. 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 in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many College AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the College AK school you select should also furnish the proper training 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of College AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the College AK schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the College AK colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your College home, go to the campus and sit in on a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near College AK, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best College Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in College Alaska.