How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Sitka Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Sitka 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 spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Sitka AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus 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, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Sitka AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Sitka AK. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt 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) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Sitka AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Sitka AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college 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 Sitka AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Sitka AK school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Sitka AK business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Sitka AK schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Sitka AK programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sitka home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sitka AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Sitka Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sitka Alaska.