How to Choose the Best Interior Design College near Wasilla Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Wasilla AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Wasilla AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Wasilla AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Wasilla AK. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish 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 as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Wasilla AK homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Wasilla AK residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose 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 an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Wasilla AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Wasilla AK program you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Wasilla AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Wasilla AK colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Wasilla AK schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Wasilla home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out 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, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Wasilla AK, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Wasilla Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wasilla Alaska.