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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Kenai Alaska

Kenai Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Kenai AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools 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 accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference 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. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Kenai AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Kenai AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Kenai AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt 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) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth 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 degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Kenai AK homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop 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 traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Kenai AK residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Kenai AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Kenai AK school you choose should also provide the proper 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Kenai AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Kenai AK schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Kenai AK schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Kenai home, go to the campus and attend 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Kenai AK, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Kenai Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Best Kenai Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kenai Alaska.