How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program near College Alaska
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near College AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate 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 vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working 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 taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in College AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily 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 banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, College AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in College AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven 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 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) examination mandated in several 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 furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets 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 furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally 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 colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their College AK homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your College AK residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few 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 choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 an extensive evaluation of their teachers 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 agency. Not only will it help verify 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 offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of College AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the College AK college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of College AK business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the College AK schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the College AK programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your College home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near College AK, verify 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 protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Best College Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in College Alaska.