How to Find the Best Interior Designer Program near Nikiski Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Nikiski AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Nikiski AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas 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 various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Nikiski AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Nikiski AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment 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 business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Nikiski AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy 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 some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Nikiski AK residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Nikiski AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Nikiski AK college you enroll in should also provide the suitable 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Nikiski AK business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Nikiski AK schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Nikiski AK schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Nikiski home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Nikiski AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Nikiski Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Nikiski Alaska.