How to Choose an Interior Design Degree Program near Juneau Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Juneau AK, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Juneau AK if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Juneau AK frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, Juneau AK designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design in Juneau AK that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Juneau AK.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Juneau AK area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish 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 lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use 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 needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no Juneau AK area interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your Juneau AK area college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design school and program that you select 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 assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, 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 Juneau AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Juneau AK school you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Juneau AK area business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of Juneau AK area interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Juneau AK schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the Juneau AK interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Best Interior Design College near Juneau AlaskaPicking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific 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 points to consider 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 business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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