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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Anchorage AK

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Anchorage AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Anchorage AK

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Anchorage AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Anchorage AK. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business 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 provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Anchorage Alaska interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Anchorage AK residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Anchorage Alaska employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Anchorage AK program you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program'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 colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Anchorage AK business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Anchorage AK colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anchorage AK colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Anchorage home, visit the campus and monitor 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Anchorage Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Anchorage AlaskaChoosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anchorage Alaska.