How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Fishhook Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Fishhook AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right 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 preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Fishhook AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Fishhook AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Fishhook AK. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Fishhook AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose 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 environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Fishhook AK residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fishhook AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Fishhook AK school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Fishhook AK business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Fishhook AK colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fishhook AK colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fishhook home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fishhook AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Best Fishhook Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fishhook Alaska.