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How to Select the Right Interior Design Course near Lakes Alaska

Lakes Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Lakes 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 interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Lakes AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Lakes AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Lakes AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily 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.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Lakes AK homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy 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 some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Lakes AK residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lakes AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Lakes AK program you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Lakes AK business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Lakes AK schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Lakes AK schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lakes home, visit the campus and attend a few 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lakes AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Lakes Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Best Lakes Interior Design College

Picking the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lakes Alaska.