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How to Find the Best Interior Design Program near Knik Fairview Alaska

Knik Fairview Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Knik Fairview AK, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Knik Fairview AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Knik Fairview AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Knik Fairview AK. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Knik Fairview AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Knik Fairview AK residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Knik Fairview AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Knik Fairview AK college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Knik Fairview AK business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Knik Fairview AK colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Knik Fairview AK programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Knik Fairview home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Knik Fairview AK, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Courses

Choose in the Best Knik Fairview Interior Design School

Choosing the right interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Knik Fairview Alaska.