How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Kodiak Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Kodiak AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Kodiak AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Kodiak AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Kodiak AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required 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 provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things 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 degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Kodiak AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 colleges may be the only alternative 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 reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Kodiak AK home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions 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 appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Kodiak AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Kodiak AK program you choose should also provide the suitable instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out 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 might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Kodiak AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Kodiak AK schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Kodiak AK programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Kodiak home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kodiak AK, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Kodiak Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kodiak Alaska.