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How to Choose the Right Interior Design College near Tanaina Alaska

Tanaina Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Tanaina AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Tanaina AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Tanaina AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Tanaina AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Tanaina AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased 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 colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Tanaina AK residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by 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 instructors and programs. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may 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 employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Tanaina AK school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. 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 trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Tanaina AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Tanaina AK colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tanaina AK colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Tanaina home, go to the campus and sit in on 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 experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tanaina AK, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Programs

Choose in the Best Tanaina Interior Design Program

Selecting the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. 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 programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tanaina Alaska.