How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Kodiak Alaska
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Kodiak AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Kodiak AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Kodiak AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Kodiak AK. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make 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 benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use 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 field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Kodiak AK homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive 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 ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Kodiak AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Kodiak AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program 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 some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Kodiak AK school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Kodiak AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Kodiak AK schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Kodiak AK colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Kodiak home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kodiak AK, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Kodiak Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kodiak Alaska.