How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Sterling Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Sterling AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses 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 only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Sterling AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas 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 commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Sterling AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Sterling AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally 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 degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Sterling AK homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Sterling AK home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Sterling AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Sterling AK college you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out 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 profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Sterling AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Sterling AK schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? 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 colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sterling home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sterling AK, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Sterling Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sterling Alaska.