How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School near Wasilla Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Wasilla AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues 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 compared to Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work 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 requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Wasilla AK may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- 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 example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Wasilla AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Wasilla AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required 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. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Wasilla AK homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Wasilla AK home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Wasilla AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Wasilla AK college you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Wasilla AK business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Wasilla AK colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Wasilla AK programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Wasilla home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Wasilla AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Wasilla Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. 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 schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wasilla Alaska.