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How to Select the Best Interior Designer School near Meadow Lakes Alaska

Meadow Lakes Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Meadow Lakes AK, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence 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 need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other important 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 training options are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Meadow Lakes AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Meadow Lakes AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Meadow Lakes AK. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly 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 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several 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 students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Meadow Lakes AK homes, there are accredited online 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 problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

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When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Meadow Lakes AK residence. Obviously 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 cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Meadow Lakes AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Meadow Lakes AK college you choose should also provide the proper training 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? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Meadow Lakes AK business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Meadow Lakes AK colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Meadow Lakes AK programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Meadow Lakes home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Meadow Lakes AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Meadow Lakes Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Best Meadow Lakes Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Meadow Lakes Alaska.