How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Tanaina Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Tanaina AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become 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 so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Tanaina AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary 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 must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Tanaina AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Tanaina AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick 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 discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty 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. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Tanaina AK homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some 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 cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Tanaina AK residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Tanaina AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Tanaina AK school you choose should also provide the appropriate 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Tanaina AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Tanaina AK colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tanaina AK colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tanaina home, go to the campus and attend a couple of 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Tanaina AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Tanaina Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tanaina Alaska.