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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fairbanks AK

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Fairbanks AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Fairbanks AK

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Fairbanks AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Fairbanks Alaska interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Fairbanks AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of 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 required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire 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 professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Fairbanks Alaska interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Fairbanks AK home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fairbanks Alaska employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Fairbanks AK college you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Fairbanks AK business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Fairbanks AK colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fairbanks AK programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fairbanks home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Fairbanks Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Fairbanks AlaskaPicking the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential 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 programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairbanks Alaska.