How to Pick an Interior Design School near Barrow Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Barrow AK, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 choices are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Barrow AK if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Barrow AK typically 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, Barrow AK designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design in Barrow AK that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Barrow AK.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Barrow AK area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no Barrow AK area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your Barrow AK area college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Barrow AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 college. And in some of those states calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Barrow AK college you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Barrow AK area business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of Barrow AK area interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Barrow AK schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the school and monitor 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the Barrow AK interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Interior Designer Program near Barrow AlaskaPicking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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