How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course near Meadow Lakes Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Meadow Lakes AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Meadow Lakes AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Meadow Lakes AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Meadow Lakes AK. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick 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 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 needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically 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 technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Meadow Lakes AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire 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 Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Meadow Lakes AK home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Meadow Lakes AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Meadow Lakes AK school you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Meadow Lakes AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Meadow Lakes AK schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Meadow Lakes AK schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Meadow Lakes home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Meadow Lakes AK, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Meadow Lakes Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Meadow Lakes Alaska.