How to Select an Interior Design Course near Galena Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Galena AK, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. 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 first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Galena AK if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Galena AK often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, Galena AK designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Galena AK that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Galena AK.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Galena AK area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialty 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. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no Galena AK area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your Galena AK area college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Galena AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Galena AK college you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Galena AK area business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of Galena AK area interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Galena AK colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the school and attend a few 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the Galena AK interior design school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Galena AlaskaChoosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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