How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Ketchikan Alaska
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Ketchikan AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Ketchikan AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Ketchikan AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Ketchikan AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Ketchikan AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. 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 only 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 expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Ketchikan AK home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Ketchikan AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Ketchikan AK program you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Ketchikan AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Ketchikan AK colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Ketchikan AK programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Ketchikan home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Ketchikan AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose in the Best Ketchikan Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching 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 job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ketchikan Alaska.