How to Choose the Best Interior Design Course near Wasilla Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Wasilla AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Wasilla AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Wasilla AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Wasilla AK. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Wasilla AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly 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 willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Wasilla AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Wasilla AK program you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Wasilla AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Wasilla AK schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Wasilla AK programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Wasilla home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Wasilla AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Best Wasilla Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wasilla Alaska.