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How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Homer Alaska

Homer Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Homer AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive 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 may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? 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 relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover 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 choices are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two 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 spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Homer AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly 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 hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Homer AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Homer AK. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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 programs are primarily 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.

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 several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Homer AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option 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 many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Homer AK residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 a rigorous evaluation 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Homer AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Homer AK college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate 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? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support 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 indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Homer AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Homer AK schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Homer AK programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Homer home, visit 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 philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Homer AK, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Right Homer Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Homer Alaska.