How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College near Knik Fairview Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Knik Fairview AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill 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 Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Knik Fairview AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Knik Fairview AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Knik Fairview AK. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed 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 needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position 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 choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Knik Fairview AK homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Knik Fairview AK residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Knik Fairview AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Knik Fairview AK school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. 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 high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Knik Fairview AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Knik Fairview AK colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Knik Fairview AK schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Knik Fairview home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Knik Fairview AK, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Knik Fairview Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Knik Fairview Alaska.