How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program near Kodiak Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Kodiak AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of education 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, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Kodiak AK may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized 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, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Kodiak AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Kodiak AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs 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 technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance 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 university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Kodiak AK homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Kodiak AK residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following 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 in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Kodiak AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Kodiak AK school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Kodiak AK business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Kodiak AK schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Kodiak AK colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Kodiak home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kodiak AK, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Kodiak Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kodiak Alaska.