How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course near Wasilla Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Wasilla AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities 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 essential that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other vital 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 options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Wasilla AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Wasilla AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Wasilla AK. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
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 solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Wasilla AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Wasilla AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Wasilla AK program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly 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 higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Wasilla AK business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Wasilla AK schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Wasilla AK programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Wasilla home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in 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 Wasilla AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Wasilla Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is an important 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 particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors 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 business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations 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 desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wasilla Alaska.