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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Anchorage AK

How to Find the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Anchorage 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 important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask 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 options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Anchorage AK

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working 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 taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general 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 a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Anchorage Alaska interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Anchorage AK. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs 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 facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide 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. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually 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 schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

Anchorage AK student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their Anchorage AK homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Anchorage AK residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including 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 in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Anchorage Alaska employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Anchorage AK school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Anchorage AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Anchorage AK colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anchorage AK schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Anchorage home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Anchorage Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Anchorage AlaskaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check 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 remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anchorage Alaska.