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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Wasilla Alaska

Wasilla Alaska interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided 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 commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Wasilla AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Wasilla AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Wasilla AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs 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 technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the comfort of their Wasilla AK homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical 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. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

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When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Wasilla AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Wasilla AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Wasilla AK college you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. 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 higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Wasilla AK business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Wasilla AK colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Wasilla AK schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Wasilla home, go to 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant 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 offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Courses

Choose in the Best Wasilla Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wasilla Alaska.