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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course near Knik Fairview Alaska

Knik Fairview Alaska interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college 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 interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other important 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 training alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Knik Fairview AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For 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 appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Knik Fairview AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Knik Fairview AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick 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 addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Knik Fairview AK homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working 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 practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Now that you have chosen 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 factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Knik Fairview 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 qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Knik Fairview AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Knik Fairview AK college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Knik Fairview AK business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Knik Fairview AK schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Knik Fairview AK colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Knik Fairview home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Knik Fairview AK, make sure that those classes are offered. 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 illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Programs

Choose in the Best Knik Fairview Interior Design Program

Selecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Knik Fairview Alaska.