How to Find the Best Interior Design College near Nikiski Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Nikiski AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss 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 available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as 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 Nikiski AK may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public 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 banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
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 must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Nikiski AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Nikiski AK. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs 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 usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Nikiski AK homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative 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 practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire 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 confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Nikiski AK home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest 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 accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Nikiski AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Nikiski AK school you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Nikiski AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Nikiski AK schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Nikiski AK schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Nikiski home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly 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, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Right Nikiski Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Nikiski Alaska.