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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Anchorage AK

How to Find the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Anchorage AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Anchorage AK

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Anchorage AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Anchorage Alaska interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Anchorage AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use 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 a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Anchorage Alaska interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Anchorage AK home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Anchorage Alaska employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Anchorage AK college you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Anchorage AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Anchorage AK schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anchorage AK colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Anchorage home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anchorage AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Anchorage Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Anchorage AlaskaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anchorage Alaska.