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How to Select the Best Interior Design Course near Homer Alaska

Homer Alaska interior designed living roomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Homer AK, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs 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 accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 options are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Homer AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Homer AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Homer AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Homer AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

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When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Homer AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for 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 programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Homer AK school you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Homer AK business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Homer AK colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Homer AK programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Homer home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Homer AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Homer Interior Design College

Picking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs 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.