How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course near Ketchikan Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Ketchikan AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will begin 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 should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, 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 and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Ketchikan AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous 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 read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Ketchikan AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Ketchikan AK. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick 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 addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed 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 two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Ketchikan AK homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic 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 a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added 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 as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a respected 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Ketchikan AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Ketchikan AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Ketchikan AK college you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Ketchikan AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Ketchikan AK colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Ketchikan AK programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Ketchikan home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ketchikan AK, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Ketchikan Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ketchikan Alaska.