How to Find an Interior Design Degree Program near Kenai Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Kenai AK, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables 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 discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Kenai AK if they possess 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Kenai AK typically 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 Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, Kenai AK designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design in Kenai AK that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Kenai AK.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Kenai 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 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive 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 credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance 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 programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to study in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no Kenai AK area interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make 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 colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your Kenai AK area school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Kenai AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Kenai AK college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Kenai AK area business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of Kenai AK area interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Kenai AK colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the campus and monitor a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the Kenai AK interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Interior Designer College near Kenai AlaskaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to recieve a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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