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How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Tanaina Alaska

Tanaina Alaska interior designed living room with viewOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Tanaina AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Tanaina AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Tanaina AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Tanaina AK. Your choice will no doubt be driven 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 choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish 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 secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally 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 needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Tanaina AK homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. 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 only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick 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 learning. 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 right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Tanaina AK home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure 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 industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Tanaina AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Tanaina AK college you choose should also provide the proper training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Tanaina AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Tanaina AK schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large 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 schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Tanaina home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Tanaina AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Tanaina Interior Design Programs

Choose in the Best Tanaina Interior Design College

Selecting the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tanaina Alaska.