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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Homer Alaska

Homer Alaska interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Homer AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 Design vs Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together 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 new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Homer AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degrees

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Homer AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two 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 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many 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 exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Homer AK homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain 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 programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Homer AK home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Homer AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Homer AK college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Homer AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Homer AK schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Homer AK programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Homer home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. 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 enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Courses

Enroll in the Right Homer Interior Design College

Selecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several 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 field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Homer Alaska.