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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Course near Lakes Alaska

Lakes Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Lakes AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 class choices are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate 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 architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Lakes AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently 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 may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to 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 create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Lakes AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Lakes AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven 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 opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Lakes AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to 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 colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized 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 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 school may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Lakes AK home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Lakes AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Lakes AK program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Lakes AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Lakes AK schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Lakes AK schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Lakes home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lakes AK, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Right Lakes Interior Design School

Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lakes Alaska.