How to Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Nikiski Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Nikiski AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working 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 taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects 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 frequently 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Nikiski AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Nikiski AK. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many 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 university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Nikiski AK homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Nikiski AK home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, 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 cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Nikiski AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Nikiski AK program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Nikiski AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Nikiski AK colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in 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 Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Nikiski AK colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Nikiski home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Nikiski AK, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Nikiski Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Nikiski Alaska.