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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course near Kenai Alaska

Kenai Alaska interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Kenai AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Kenai AK may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Kenai AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch 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 devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Kenai AK homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying 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 accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have decided on 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 factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Kenai AK residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Kenai AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Kenai AK college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Kenai AK business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Kenai AK colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Kenai AK schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Kenai home, go to the college and monitor a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kenai AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Right Kenai Interior Design School

Selecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kenai Alaska.