How to Select the Right Interior Design School near Ketchikan Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Ketchikan 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 essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Ketchikan AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Ketchikan AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Ketchikan AK. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly 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 as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two 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 study in the convenience of their Ketchikan AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school 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 obtain 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 setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Ketchikan AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Ketchikan AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Ketchikan AK school you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Ketchikan AK business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Ketchikan AK schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively 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 one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ketchikan AK schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Ketchikan home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Ketchikan AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Ketchikan Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ketchikan Alaska.