How to Choose the Best Interior Design College near Wasilla Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Wasilla AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills 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 examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of education 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 necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Wasilla AK can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to 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 looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Wasilla AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Wasilla AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Wasilla AK homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Wasilla AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Wasilla AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Wasilla AK school you enroll in should also provide the suitable training 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Wasilla AK business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Wasilla AK colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Wasilla AK colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Wasilla home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Wasilla AK, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Wasilla Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wasilla Alaska.