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How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Homer Alaska

Homer Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Homer AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important 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 class choices are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing 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 living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Homer AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential 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 produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Homer AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Homer AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions 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 complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Homer AK homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Homer AK home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, 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 Homer AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Homer AK school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Homer AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Homer AK schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential 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? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Homer AK colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Homer home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in provides 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 Homer AK, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Homer Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Best Homer Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance 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 right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Homer Alaska.