How to Enroll in the Best 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 essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Ketchikan AK may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Ketchikan AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Ketchikan AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Ketchikan AK homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many 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 traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain 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 Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Ketchikan AK residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field 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 programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Ketchikan AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Ketchikan AK college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Ketchikan AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Ketchikan AK colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Ketchikan AK schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ketchikan home, visit the school and attend a few 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Ketchikan AK, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Ketchikan Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ketchikan Alaska.