How to Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Lakes Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Lakes AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right 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 training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. 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 work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Lakes AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Lakes AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Lakes AK. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Lakes AK homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added 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 also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Lakes AK home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Lakes AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Lakes AK school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Lakes AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Lakes AK schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lakes AK colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lakes home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend 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 enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Lakes Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lakes Alaska.