How to Select the Best Interior Design Program near Steele Creek Alaska
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Steele Creek AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level 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. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Steele Creek AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. 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 instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Steele Creek AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Steele Creek AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several 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 provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Steele Creek AK homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of 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. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Steele Creek AK residence. Obviously 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 decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select 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 select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Steele Creek AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Steele Creek AK program you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Steele Creek AK business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Steele Creek AK colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Steele Creek AK schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Steele Creek home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Steele Creek AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Steele Creek Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Steele Creek Alaska.