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How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Sterling Alaska

Sterling Alaska interior designed living room with viewOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Sterling AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some 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 crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial 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 class alternatives are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Sterling AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, 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 consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Sterling AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Sterling AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth 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 degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want 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, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Sterling AK homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Sterling AK home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Sterling AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Sterling AK college you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Sterling AK business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Sterling AK schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sterling AK schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sterling home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sterling AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Sterling Interior Design Programs

Choose in the Right Sterling Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sterling Alaska.