How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program near Steele Creek Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Steele Creek AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Steele Creek AK may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Steele Creek AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Steele Creek AK. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade 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 a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Steele Creek AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending 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 colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Steele Creek AK residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Steele Creek AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Steele Creek AK college you enroll in 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 working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. 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 a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Steele Creek AK business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Steele Creek AK schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Steele Creek AK colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Steele Creek home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Steele Creek AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Steele Creek Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Steele Creek Alaska.