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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Sterling Alaska

Sterling Alaska interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Sterling AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right 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 may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. 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 before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Sterling AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area 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 dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Sterling AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Sterling AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily 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 three to five years.

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

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Sterling AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Sterling AK residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sterling AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Sterling AK college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement 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 regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Sterling AK business relationships 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 Sterling AK colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Sterling AK colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Sterling home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sterling AK, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Best Sterling Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sterling Alaska.