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How to Select the Right Interior Design Course near Kodiak Alaska

Kodiak Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Kodiak AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address 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 class options are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Kodiak AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might 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, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Kodiak AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Kodiak AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two 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 colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. 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 only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain 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 school may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Kodiak AK home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected 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 instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Kodiak AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Kodiak AK college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Kodiak AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Kodiak AK schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Kodiak AK schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Kodiak home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select 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 attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kodiak AK, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Right Kodiak Interior Design Program

Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kodiak Alaska.