How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Tanaina Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Tanaina AK, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Tanaina AK may 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Tanaina AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Tanaina AK. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several 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. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Tanaina AK homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed 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 schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain 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 programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Tanaina AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Tanaina AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Tanaina AK school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Tanaina AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Tanaina AK schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide 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 probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Tanaina AK schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Tanaina home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic 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 Tanaina AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Tanaina Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform 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 schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tanaina Alaska.