How to Select the Best Interior Design School near Steele Creek Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Steele Creek AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important 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 options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference 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, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Steele Creek AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. 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 Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Steele Creek AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Steele Creek AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Steele Creek AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Steele Creek AK residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking 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 things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Steele Creek AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Steele Creek AK school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Steele Creek AK business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Steele Creek AK colleges you are looking at 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 and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Steele Creek AK colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Steele Creek home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Steele Creek AK, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Steele Creek Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Steele Creek Alaska.