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How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Tanaina Alaska

Tanaina Alaska interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Tanaina AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Tanaina AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Tanaina AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Tanaina AK. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Tanaina AK homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. 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 expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make 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 earn 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Tanaina AK home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school 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, many Tanaina AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Tanaina AK program you choose should also furnish the suitable 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Tanaina AK business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Tanaina AK schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Tanaina AK colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Tanaina home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to 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 working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Tanaina Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Right Tanaina Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative 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 review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tanaina Alaska.