How to Select an Interior Design Program near Seward Alaska
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Seward 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 essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Seward AK if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Seward AK typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, Seward AK designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Seward AK that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Seward AK.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Seward AK area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no Seward AK area interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your Seward AK area college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Seward AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do require that interior designers get 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Seward AK program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Seward AK area business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of Seward AK area interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Seward AK schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask 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 Seward AK interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Interior Designer Certification Training near Seward AlaskaChoosing the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out 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 ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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