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How to Select the Right Interior Designer College near Homer Alaska

Homer Alaska interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Homer AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 training alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Homer AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Homer AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Homer AK. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available 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 four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many 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 college or university level. The programs differ 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 mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Homer AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended 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 colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Homer AK home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Homer AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Homer AK school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Homer AK business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Homer AK schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school 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 provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Homer AK colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Homer home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Homer AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Programs

Choose in the Best Homer Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Homer Alaska.