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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Nikiski Alaska

Nikiski Alaska interior designed living room with viewNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Nikiski AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics 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 class alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Nikiski AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces 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 many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Nikiski AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Nikiski AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education 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 usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Nikiski AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Nikiski AK home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Nikiski AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Nikiski AK program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing 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 designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help 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 school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Nikiski AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Nikiski AK schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Nikiski AK colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Nikiski home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active 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 Nikiski AK, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Right Nikiski Interior Design College

Choosing the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Nikiski Alaska.