How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Kodiak Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Kodiak AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate 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 basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might 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, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Kodiak AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Kodiak AK. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of 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) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure 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 specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely 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.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Kodiak AK homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying 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 accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Kodiak AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Kodiak AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Kodiak AK college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Kodiak AK business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Kodiak AK colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Kodiak AK programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Kodiak home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Kodiak AK, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Kodiak Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kodiak Alaska.