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How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Kodiak Alaska

Kodiak Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Kodiak AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Kodiak AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Kodiak AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degrees

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Kodiak AK. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many 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 provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain 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 offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Kodiak AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. 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 difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of 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 cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Kodiak AK residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Kodiak AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Kodiak AK college you select should also furnish the proper 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 undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Kodiak AK business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Kodiak AK colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized 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 assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Kodiak AK colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Kodiak home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important 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, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Right Kodiak Interior Design Program

Choosing the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kodiak Alaska.