How to Choose the Best Interior Design School near Knik Fairview Alaska
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Knik Fairview AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Knik Fairview AK may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial 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 concepts, Knik Fairview AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Knik Fairview AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment 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 facets of the trade 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 training in design after achieving a 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 programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Knik Fairview AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Knik Fairview AK residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Knik Fairview AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Knik Fairview AK school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. 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 high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Knik Fairview AK business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Knik Fairview AK colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Knik Fairview AK colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Knik Fairview home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Knik Fairview AK, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Knik Fairview Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Knik Fairview Alaska.