How to Pick the Best Interior Design School near Ketchikan Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Ketchikan 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 spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills 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 exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Ketchikan AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Ketchikan AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Ketchikan AK. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money 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 required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous 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 extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Ketchikan AK homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs 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 conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Ketchikan AK residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you select 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Ketchikan AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Ketchikan AK program you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Ketchikan AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Ketchikan AK schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Ketchikan AK programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Ketchikan home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Ketchikan AK, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Ketchikan Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ketchikan Alaska.