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How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Kenai Alaska

Kenai Alaska interior designed living roomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Kenai AK, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Kenai 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, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might 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, 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 integrating Feng shui concepts, Kenai AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Kenai AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions 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 about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five 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 some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Kenai AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Kenai AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose 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 undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Kenai AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Kenai AK program you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Kenai AK business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Kenai AK schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Kenai AK programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Kenai home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kenai AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Best Kenai Interior Design College

Picking the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kenai Alaska.