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How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program near Ketchikan Alaska

Ketchikan Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Ketchikan AK, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover 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 class options are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many 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 many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories 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 the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Ketchikan AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Ketchikan AK. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have 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 mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized 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. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish 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 hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole 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. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

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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 a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Ketchikan AK home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain 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 necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Ketchikan AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 school. 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 furnishing an outstanding education, the Ketchikan AK program you select 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 working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, 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 in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Ketchikan AK business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Ketchikan AK schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Ketchikan AK colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ketchikan home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ketchikan AK, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Best Ketchikan Interior Design Program

Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ketchikan Alaska.