How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Kalifornsky Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Kalifornsky 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 interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Kalifornsky AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Kalifornsky AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Kalifornsky AK. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Kalifornsky AK homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient 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 cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Kalifornsky 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 expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Kalifornsky AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Kalifornsky AK college you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Kalifornsky AK business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Kalifornsky AK schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Kalifornsky AK schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Kalifornsky home, go to the school 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Kalifornsky AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Kalifornsky Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kalifornsky Alaska.