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How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program near Lakes Alaska

Lakes Alaska interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Lakes AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate 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 crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Lakes AK can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Lakes AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Lakes AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have 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 mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Lakes AK homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Lakes AK residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of 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, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Lakes AK school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Lakes AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Lakes AK schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Lakes AK schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Lakes home, go to the school 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program 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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lakes AK, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Lakes Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lakes Alaska.