How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Meadow Lakes Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Meadow Lakes AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Meadow Lakes AK may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Meadow Lakes AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Meadow Lakes AK. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually 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 field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Meadow Lakes AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be 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 programs 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 option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Meadow Lakes AK home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Meadow Lakes AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Meadow Lakes AK school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Meadow Lakes AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Meadow Lakes AK colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program 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 provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Meadow Lakes AK schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Meadow Lakes home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Meadow Lakes AK, make certain that those classes are available. 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 because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Meadow Lakes Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Meadow Lakes Alaska.